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So if you heat up a piece of sodium engulfed in a large excess of sulfur, what you would get (from what I've read) is sodium polysulfide $\ce{NaS_n}$. But how large can $n$ get? If you left sodium polysulfide in molten sulfur, would you increase $n$?

If you tried to dissolve the sulfur-polysulfide mixture in water and filtered it, I assume you would get a basic aqueous hydrogen polysulfide solution. If you then poured in a solution of copper sulfate, besides $\ce{Cu(OH)2}$, would $\ce{CuS_n}$ also precipitate out with an arbitrarily large $n$, or would the larger polysulfides break up into elemental sulfur and lower polysulfides first and precipitate out $\ce{CuS_n}$ with a more discrete number $n$?

And if you acidified the polysulfide solution until you have only $\ce{HS-}$, $\ce{H2S}$ and suspended sulfur in the solution, from which you could get the precipitate $\ce{CuS}$, would you be able to calculate the initial mass of sodium used from the mass of copper sulfide?

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  • $\begingroup$ What $\ce{NaS_n}$ compounds would result from putting Na in sulfur is an interesting question. I'd guess that such a reaction would create a complicated mixture of compounds. There are probably certain configurations that would be quasi-stable, such a six-membered ring. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Apr 5 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ Depending on the preparation, see pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja00166a054, the 'n' may not be too arbitrary. $\endgroup$ – AJKOER Apr 5 at 3:00

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