Sulfate is the IUPAC name for the SO42- ion, consisting of a central sulfur atom single bonded to four tetrahedrally oriented oxygen atoms. This anion has a net negative two electric charge.
Almost all ionic compounds with sulfate anions are soluble in water at standard temperature and pressure (the exceptions include CaSO4, SrSO4, and BaSO4).
The acid of the sulfate ion is H2SO4, called sulfuric acid.
Sulfates, also known as sulfur oxides, are important in both the chemical industry and biological systems:
Sulfates occur as microscopic particles (aerosols) resulting from fossil fuel and biomass combustion. They increase the acidity of the atmosphere and form acid rain. There is a negative radiative forcing from aerosols because, while in the atmosphere, they reflect incoming solar radiation. This is an increase in albedo.
Last updated: 07-29-2005 23:40:00