Carbon disulfide

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Carbon disulfide
Carbon disulfide
CAS number 75-15-0 YesY
PubChem 6348
ChemSpider 6108 YesY
UNII S54S8B99E8 YesY
EC number 200-843-6
UN number 1131
KEGG C19033 N
ChEBI CHEBI:23012 YesY
RTECS number FF6650000
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula CS2
Molar mass 76.139 g/mol
Appearance colorless liquid
impure: light-yellow
Odor chloroform (pure)
foul (commercial)
Density 1.261 g/cm3
Melting point −110.8 °C (−167.4 °F; 162.3 K)
Boiling point 46.3 °C (115.3 °F; 319.4 K)
Solubility in water 2.9 g/kg (20 °C)
Solubility soluble in alcohol, ether, benzene, oil. chloroform, CCl4
Refractive index (nD) 1.6295
Viscosity 0.363
Molecular shape Linear
Dipole moment zero
MSDS External MSDS
EU Index 006-003-00-3
EU classification Toxic T, Irritant Xi, Flammable F
R-phrases R11, R36/38, R48/23, R62, R63
S-phrases (S1/2), S16, S33, S36/37, S45
NFPA 704
Flammability code 4: Will rapidly or completely vaporize at normal atmospheric pressure and temperature, or is readily dispersed in air and will burn readily. Flash point below 23 °C (73 °F). E.g., propane Health code 3: Short exposure could cause serious temporary or residual injury. E.g., chlorine gas Reactivity code 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g., liquid nitrogen Special hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond
Flash point −30 °C (−22 °F; 243 K)
Explosive limits 1.3–50%
LD50 3188 mg/kg
Related compounds
Related compounds Carbon dioxide
Carbonyl sulfide
Carbon diselenide
Supplementary data page
Structure and
n, εr, etc.
Phase behaviour
Solid, liquid, gas
Spectral data UV, IR, NMR, MS
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
 N (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Infobox references

Carbon disulfide is a colorless volatile liquid with the formula CS2. The compound is used frequently as a building block in organic chemistry as well as an industrial and chemical non-polar solvent. It has an "ether-like" odor, but commercial samples are typically contaminated with foul-smelling impurities, such as carbonyl sulfide.[1]

Occurrence and manufacture[edit]

Small amounts of carbon disulfide are released by volcanic eruptions and marshes. CS2 once was manufactured by combining carbon (or coke) and sulfur at high temperatures. A lower temperature reaction, requiring only 600 °C utilizes natural gas as the carbon source in the presence of silica gel or alumina catalysts:[1]

2CH4 + S8 → 2CS2 + 4H2S

The reaction is analogous to the combustion of methane. Although it is isoelectronic with carbon dioxide, CS2 is highly flammable:

CS2 + 3O2 → CO2 + 2SO2

Global production/consumption of carbon disulfide is approximately one million tonnes, with China consuming 49%, followed by India at 13%, mostly for the production of rayon fiber.[2] USA production in 2007 was 56,000 tonnes.[3]


Compared to CO2, CS2 is more reactive toward nucleophiles and more easily reduced. These differences in reactivity can be attributed to the weaker π donor-ability of the sulfido centers, which renders the carbon more electrophilic. It is widely used in the synthesis of organosulfur compounds such as metham sodium, a soil fumigant and is commonly used in the production of the soft fabric viscose.

Addition of nucleophiles[edit]

Nucleophiles such as amines afford dithiocarbamates:

2R2NH + CS2 → [R2NH2+][R2NCS2]

Xanthates form similarly from alkoxides:

RONa + CS2 → [Na+][ROCS2]

This reaction is the basis of the manufacture of regenerated cellulose, the main ingredient of viscose, rayon and cellophane. Both xanthates and the related thioxanthates (derived from treatment of CS2 with sodium thiolates) are used as flotation agents in mineral processing.

Sodium sulfide affords trithiocarbonate:

Na2S + CS2 → [Na+]2[CS32−]


Chlorination of CS2 is the principal route to carbon tetrachloride:[1]

CS2 + 3Cl2 → CCl4 + S2Cl2

This conversion proceeds via the intermediacy of thiophosgene, CSCl2.

Coordination chemistry[edit]

CS2 is a ligand for many metal complexes, forming pi complexes. One example is CpCo(η2-CS2)(PMe3).[4]

Carbon disulfide hydrolase[edit]

Carbon disulfide is naturally formed in the mudpots of volcanic solfataras. It serves as a source of hydrogen sulfide, which is an electron donor for certain organisms that oxidize it into sulphuric acid or related sulfur oxides. The hyperthermophilic Acidianus strain was found to convert CS2 into H2S and CO2. The enzyme responsible for this conversion is termed carbon disulfide hydrolase.[5]

The mechanism by this hydrolase converts CS2 into H2S is similar to that of how carbonic anhydrase hydrates CO2 to HCO3. This similarity points to a likely mechanism.


CS2 polymerizes upon photolysis or under high pressure to give an insoluble material called "Bridgman's black", named after the discoverer of the polymer, P. W. Bridgman. Trithiocarbonate (-S-C(S)-S-) linkages comprise, in part, the backbone of the polymer, which is a semiconductor.[6]



Used for fumigation in airtight storage warehouses, airtight flat storages, bins, grain elevators, railroad box cars, shipholds, barges and cereal mills.[7]


Carbon disulfide is used as an insecticide for the fumigation of grains, nursery stock, in fresh fruit conservation and as a soil disinfectant against insects and nematodes.[8]


Carbon disulfide is a solvent for phosphorus, sulfur, selenium, bromine, iodine, fats, resins, rubber, and asphalt.[9] It has been used in the purification of single-walled carbon nanotubes.[10]


The principal industrial uses of carbon disulfide are the manufacture of viscose rayon, cellophane film, carbon tetrachloride and xanthogenates and electronic vacuum tubes.

Health effects[edit]

At high levels, carbon disulfide may be life-threatening because it affects the nervous system. Significant safety data comes from the viscose rayon industry, where both carbon disulfide as well as small amounts of H2S may be present.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. (2001), Inorganic Chemistry, San Diego: Academic Press, ISBN 0-12-352651-5 
  2. ^ "Carbon Disulfide report from IHS Chemical". Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Chemical profile: carbon disulfide from". Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ Werner, H. (1982). "Novel Coordination Compounds formed from CS2 and Heteroallenes". Coordination Chemistry Reviews 43: 165–185. doi:10.1016/S0010-8545(00)82095-0. 
  5. ^ Smeulders, MJ.; Barends, TR.; Pol, A.; Scherer, A.; Zandvoort, MH.; Udvarhelyi, A.; Khadem, AF.; Menzel, A.; Hermans, J.; Shoeman, RL.; Wessels, HJ.; Van den Heuvel, LP.; Russ, L.; Schlichting, I.; Jetten, MS.; Op den Camp, HJ. “Evolution of a New Enzyme for Carbon Disulphide Conversion by an AcidothermophilicArchaeon” Nature, 2011, 487, 412-416. doi:10.1038/nature10464
  6. ^ Ochiai, Bungo; Endo, Takeshi "Carbon dioxide and carbon disulfide as resources for functional polymers" Progress in Polymer Science (2005), 30, 183-215. doi:10.1016/j.progpolymsci.2005.01.005
  7. ^ Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 0080379419. 
  8. ^ Worthing, C. R.; Hance. R. J. (1991). The Pesticide Manual, A World Compendium (9th ed.). British Crop Protection Council. ISBN 9780948404429. 
  9. ^ "Carbon Disulfide". Akzo Nobel. 
  10. ^ Park, T.-J.; Banerjee, S.; Hemraj-Benny, T.; Wong, S. S. (2006). "Purification strategies and purity visualization techniques for single-walled carbon nanotubes". Journal of Materials Chemistry 16 (2): 141–154. doi:10.1039/b510858f. 

External links[edit]