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Iron sulfide, FeS, is a black, water-insoluble solid. It occurs naturally as the minerals troilite and pyrrhotite. It is used as a filler in resin-bonded grinding and cut off wheels, brake linings etc, and for production of sulfuric acid. It is also a component in many alloys.
It can be ignited spontaneously when it comes into contact with oxygen, forming a pyrophoric fire which is difficult to extinguish. The presence of iron sulfide in oil and gas pipelines may result in the formation of a sludge or scale, known as pyrophoric sludge, which can line vessels, tanks and pipes. This material, if exposed to air, will react to form iron oxide (Fe2O3), better known as rust, which can then serve as an ignition source for hydrocarbons which are transported in the vessel, tank or pipe. Pryrophoric fires can be prevented by keeping the potentially pyrophoric material wet or by filling the vessel, tank or pipe with an inert gas such as nitrogen to prevent the oxidizing reaction from occurring.
The photoelectron spectra of the ground state and the sulfide saturated cluster anions of FeS2-x(SH)x- (x = 0-3) are compared using the B3LYP and BPW91 functionals. The calculated first vertical d orbital energy (VDE) for the central Fe atom in ground state FeS0-3- clusters is found to increase with increasing number of S atoms added to the cluster. This trend is attributed to the fact that atomic S is highly electronegative, and more bound S atoms give rise to a stronger positive partial charge on the central Fe atom.