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Stereo, skeletal formula of octathiocane
Spacefill model of octathiocane
Ball and stick model of octathiocane
Sample of pulverised octasulfur
Systematic IUPAC name
10544-50-0 YesY
ChEMBL ChEMBL1235452 YesY
ChemSpider 59726 YesY
Jmol interactive 3D Image
MeSH Cyclooctasulfur
PubChem 66348
Molar mass 256.48 g·mol−1
Appearance Vivid, yellow, translucent crystals
Density 2.07 g cm−3
Melting point 119 °C; 246 °F; 392 K
Boiling point 159 °C; 318 °F; 432 K (decomposes)
log P 6.117
32 J·mol−1·K−1[2]
0 kJ·mol−1[2]
Related compounds
Related compounds
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Octasulfur (systematically named octathiocane, and cyclo-octasulfur) is an inorganic chemical with the chemical formula S
. It is a yellow solid, and is odourless and tasteless.

It is the standard allotrope of sulfur. It is also the final member of the thiocane heterocylic series, where every carbon is substituted with a sulfur atom.


The name octasulfur, is the most commonly used, the preferred IUPAC name is cyclo-octasulfur.

Chemical properties[edit]

Octasulfur exists as three distinct polymorphs, rhombohedral, and two monoclinic forms, of these only two are stable at standard conditions. The rhombohedral crystal form is the accepted standard. The remaining polymorph is only stable between 96 °C and 115 °C at 100 kPa, above 115 °C octasulfur starts to slowly disproportionate. However, if heated fast enough, with minimal degradation, octasulfur will melt at 119 °C, before being completely degraded above 159 °C.

Octasulfur forms several sulfur allotropes:


λ-Sulfur is the liquid form of octasulfur, from which γ-sulfur can be crystallised by quenching. If λ-sulfur is crystallised slowly, it will revert to β-sulfur. Since it must have been heated over 115 °C, neither crystallised β-sulfur, or γ-sulfur will be pure. The only known method of obtaining pure γ-sulfur, is by crystallising from solution.

Octasulfur easily forms large sized crystals, these crystals are typically vivid yellow in colour, and are somewhat translucent. As is typical of other crystalline compounds, pulverised sulfur is completely different in appearance - it is a paler colour, and opaque as is shown in the image.


Very pure octasulfur can be produced through photolysis of 4,4'-dipyridyl disulfide, using aqueous pyridine as a catalyst. The ratio of octasulfur polymorphs can be altered by altering the pyridine-water ratio. This process can also produce the gamma form of octasulfur.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "cyclooctasulfur (CHEBI:29385)". Chemical Entities of Biological Interest. UK: European Bioinformatics Institute. Main. 
  2. ^ a b Zumdahl, Steven S. (2009). Chemical Principles 6th Ed. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. A23. ISBN 0-618-94690-X.