Carbon disulfide


Carbon disulfide
Carbon disulfide
IUPAC name
Other names
Carbon bisulfide
  • 75-15-0 checkY
3D model (JSmol)
  • Interactive image
  • CHEBI:23012 checkY
  • 6108 checkY
ECHA InfoCard 100.000.767 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • 200-843-6
  • C19033 ☒N
  • 6348
RTECS number
  • FF6650000
  • S54S8B99E8 checkY
UN number 1131
  • DTXSID6023947 Edit this at Wikidata
  • InChI=1S/CS2/c2-1-3 checkY
  • InChI=1/CS2/c2-1-3
  • S=C=S
Molar mass 76.13 g·mol−1
Appearance Colorless liquid
Impure: light-yellow
Odor Chloroform (pure)
Foul (commercial)
Density 1.539 g/cm3 (−186°C)
1.2927 g/cm3 (0 °C)
1.266 g/cm3 (25 °C)[1]
Melting point −111.61 °C (−168.90 °F; 161.54 K)
Boiling point 46.24 °C (115.23 °F; 319.39 K)
2.58 g/L (0 °C)
2.39 g/L (10 °C)
2.17 g/L (20 °C)[2]
0.14 g/L (50 °C)[1]
Solubility Soluble in alcohol, ether, benzene, oil, CHCl3, CCl4
Solubility in formic acid 4.66 g/100 g[1]
Solubility in dimethyl sulfoxide 45 g/100 g (20.3 °C)[1]
Vapor pressure 48.1 kPa (25 °C)
82.4 kPa (40 °C)[3]
−42.2·10−6 cm3/mol
Viscosity 0.436 cP (0 °C)
0.363 cP (20 °C)
0 D (20 °C)[1]
75.73 J/(mol·K)[1]
151 J/(mol·K)[1]
88.7 kJ/mol[1]
64.4 kJ/mol[1]
1687.2 kJ/mol[3]
Safety data sheet See: data page
GHS pictograms GHS02: FlammableGHS06: ToxicGHS08: Health hazard[4]
GHS Signal word Danger
H225, H315, H319, H361, H372[4]
P210, P281, P305+P351+P338, P314[4]
ICSC 0022
Inhalation hazard Irritant; toxic
Eye hazard Irritant
Skin hazard Irritant
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Flash point −43 °C (−45 °F; 230 K)[1]
102 °C (216 °F; 375 K)[1]
Explosive limits 1.3–50%[5]
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
3188 mg/kg (rat, oral)
>1670 ppm (rat, 1 h)
15500 ppm (rat, 1 h)
3000 ppm (rat, 4 h)
3500 ppm (rat, 4 h)
7911 ppm (rat, 2 h)
3165 ppm (mouse, 2 h)[6]
4000 ppm (human, 30 min)[6]
NIOSH (US health exposure limits):
PEL (Permissible)
TWA 20 ppm C 30 ppm 100 ppm (30-minute maximum peak)[5]
REL (Recommended)
TWA 1 ppm (3 mg/m3) ST 10 ppm (30 mg/m3) [skin][5]
IDLH (Immediate danger)
500 ppm[5]
Related compounds
Related compounds
Carbon dioxide
Carbonyl sulfide
Carbon diselenide
Supplementary data page
Refractive index (n),
Dielectric constantr), etc.
Phase behaviour
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
☒N verify (what is checkY☒N ?)
Infobox references

Carbon disulfide, also spelled as carbon disulphide, is a neurotoxic 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.[7]

Occurrence, manufacture, properties

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.

C + 2S → CS2

A lower-temperature reaction, requiring only 600 °C, utilizes natural gas as the carbon source in the presence of silica gel or alumina catalysts:[7]

2 CH4 + S8 → 2 CS2 + 4 H2S

The reaction is analogous to the combustion of methane.

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.[8] United States production in 2007 was 56,000 tonnes.[9]


Carbon disulfide is a solvent for phosphorus, sulfur, selenium, bromine, iodine, fats, resins, rubber, and asphalt.[10] It has been used in the purification of single-walled carbon nanotubes.[11]


CS2 is highly flammable. Its combustion affords sulfur dioxide according to this ideal stoichiometry:

CS2 + 3 O2 → CO2 + 2 SO2

With nucleophiles

Compared to the isoelectronic carbon dioxide, CS2 is a weaker electrophile. While, however, reactions of nucleophiles with CO2 are highly reversible and products are only isolated with very strong nucleophiles, the reactions with CS2 are thermodynamically more favored allowing the formation of products with less reactive nucleophiles.[12] For example, amines afford dithiocarbamates:

2 R2NH + 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−]

Carbon disulfide does not hydrolyze readily, although the process is catalyzed by an enzyme carbon disulfide hydrolase.


Reduction of carbon disulfide with sodium affords sodium 1,3-dithiole-2-thione-4,5-dithiolate together with sodium trithiocarbonate:[13]

4 Na + 4 CS2 → Na2C3S5 + Na2CS3


Chlorination of CS2 provides a route to carbon tetrachloride:[7]

CS2 + 3 Cl2 → CCl4 + S2Cl2

This conversion proceeds via the intermediacy of thiophosgene, CSCl2.

Coordination chemistry

CS2 is a ligand for many metal complexes, forming pi complexes. One example is CpCo(η2-CS2)(PMe3).[14]


CS2 polymerizes upon photolysis or under high pressure to give an insoluble material called car-sul or "Bridgman's black", named after the discoverer of the polymer, Percy Williams Bridgman.[15] Trithiocarbonate (-S-C(S)-S-) linkages comprise, in part, the backbone of the polymer, which is a semiconductor.[16]


The principal industrial uses of carbon disulfide, consuming 75% of the annual production, are the manufacture of viscose rayon and cellophane film.[17]

It is also a valued intermediate in chemical synthesis of carbon tetrachloride. It is widely used in the synthesis of organosulfur compounds such as metam sodium, xanthates and dithiocarbamates, which are used in extractive metallurgy and rubber chemistry.

Niche uses

Carbon disulfide insecticide ad from the 1896 issue of The American Elevator and Grain Trade magazine

It can be used in fumigation of airtight storage warehouses, airtight flat storages, bins, grain elevators, railroad box cars, shipholds, barges and cereal mills.[18] Carbon disulfide is also used as an insecticide for the fumigation of grains, nursery stock, in fresh fruit conservation and as a soil disinfectant against insects and nematodes.[19]

Health effects

Carbon disulfide has been linked to both acute and chronic forms of poisoning, with a diverse range of symptoms.[20]

Concentrations of 500-3000 mg/m3 cause acute and subacute poisoning cause a set of mostly neurological and psychiatric symptoms, called encephalopathia sulfocarbonica. Symptoms include acute psychosis (manic delirium, hallucinations), paranoic ideas, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal and sexual disorders, polyneuritis, myopathy, and mood changes (including irritability and anger). Effects observed at lower concentrations include neurological problems (encephalopathy, psychomotor and psychological disturbances, polyneuritis, abnormalities in nerve conduction), vision problems (burning eyes, abnormal light reactions, increased ophthalmic pressure), heart problems (increased deaths for heart disease, angina pectoris, high blood pressure), and reproductive problems (increased miscarriages, immobile or deformed sperm), and decreased immune response.[21]

Occupational exposure to carbon disulfide is also associated with cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke.[22]

In 2000, the WHO believed that health harms were unlikely at levels below 100 μg/m3, and set this as a guideline level. Carbon sulfide can be smelled at levels above 200 μg/m3, and the WHO recommended a sensory guideline of below 20 μg/m3. Exposure to carbon disulfide is well-established to be harmful to health in concentrations at or above 30 mg/m3 Changes in the function of the central nervous system have been observed at concentrations of 20-25 mg/m3. There are also reports of harms to health at 10 mg/m3, for exposures of 10-15 years, but the lack of good data on past exposure levels make the association of these harms with concentrations of 10 mg/m3 findings uncertain. The measured concentration of 10 mg/m3 may be equivalent to a concentration in the general environment of 1 mg/m3.[21]

Environmental sources

The primary source of carbon disulfide in the environment is rayon factories.[21] Most global carbon disulfide emissions come from rayon production, as of 2008.[23] Other sources include the production of cellophane, carbon tetrachloride,[23] carbon black, and sulfur recovery. Carbon disulfide production also emits carbon disulfide.[24]

As of 2004, about 250g of carbon disufide is emitted per kilogram of rayon produced. About 30g of carbon disufide is emitted per kilogram of carbon black produced. About 0.341 g of carbon disufide is emitted per kilogram of sulfur recovered.[24]

Japan has reduced carbon disulfide emissions per kilogram of rayon produced, but in other rayon-producing countries, including China, emissions are assumed to be uncontrolled (based on global modelling and large-scale free-air concentration measurements). Rayon production is steady or decreasing except in China, where it is increasing, as of 2004.[24] Carbon black production in Japan and Korea uses incinerators to destroy about 99% of the carbon disulfide that would otherwise be emitted.[24] When used as a solvent, Japanese emissions are about 40% of the carbon disulfide used; elsewhere, the average is about 80%.[24]

Most rayon production uses carbon sulfide.[25][26] One exception is rayon made using the lyocell process, which uses a different solvent; as of 2018 the lyocell process is not widely used, because it is more expensive than the viscose process.[27][28] Cupro rayon also does not use carbon disulphide.

Historic and current exposure

Industrial workers working with carbon disulfide are at high risk. Emissions may also harm the health of people living near rayon plants.[21]

Concerns about carbon disulfide exposure have a long history.[17][29][30] Around 1900, carbon disulfide came to be widely used in the production of vulcanized rubber. The psychosis produced by high exposures was immediately apparent (it has been reported with 6 months of exposure[21]). One infamous rubber factory put bars on its windows so that the workers would not jump out to their deaths. Its use in the US as a heavier-than-air burrow poison for Richardson's ground squirrel also lead to reports of psychosis. No systematic medical study of the issue was published, and knowledge was not transferred to the rayon industry.[26]

The first large epidemiological study of rayon workers was done in the US in the late 1930s, and found fairly severe effects in 30% of the workers. Data on increased risks of heart attacks and strokes came out in the 1960s. Courtaulds, a major rayon manufacturer, worked hard to prevent publication of this data in the UK.[26] Average concentrations in sampled rayon plants were reduced from about 250 mg/m3 in 1955-1965 to about 20-30 mg/m3 in the 1980s (US figures only?[United States-centric]).[21] Rayon production has since largely moved to the developing world, especially China, Indonesia and India.[25][26]

Rates of disability in modern factories are unknown, as of 2016.[31][25] Current manufacturers using the viscose process do not provide any information on harm to their workers.[26][25]


In 1796, the German chemist Wilhelm August Lampadius (1772–1842) first prepared carbon disulfide by heating pyrite with moist charcoal. He called it "liquid sulfur" (flüssig Schwefel).[32] The composition of carbon disulfide was finally determined in 1813 by the team of the Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779–1848) and the Swiss-British chemist Alexander Marcet (1770–1822).[33] Their analysis was consistent with an empirical formula of CS2.[34]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Properties of substance: carbon disulfide".
  2. ^ Seidell, Atherton; Linke, William F. (1952). Solubilities of Inorganic and Organic Compounds. Van Nostrand.
  3. ^ a b Carbon disulfide in Linstrom, Peter J.; Mallard, William G. (eds.); NIST Chemistry WebBook, NIST Standard Reference Database Number 69, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg (MD), (retrieved 2014-05-27).
  4. ^ a b c d Sigma-Aldrich Co., Carbon disulfide. Retrieved on 2014-05-27.
  5. ^ a b c d NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. "#0104". National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  6. ^ a b "Carbon disulfide". Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH). National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
  7. ^ a b c Holleman, Arnold Frederik; Wiberg, Egon (2001), Wiberg, Nils (ed.), Inorganic Chemistry, translated by Eagleson, Mary; Brewer, William, San Diego/Berlin: Academic Press/De Gruyter, ISBN 0-12-352651-5.
  8. ^ "Carbon Disulfide report from IHS Chemical". Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  9. ^ "Chemical profile: carbon disulfide from". Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  10. ^ "Carbon Disulfide". Akzo Nobel. Archived from the original on 2017-09-03. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  11. ^ Park, Tae-Jin; Banerjee, Sarbajit; Hemraj-Benny, Tirandai; Wong, Stanislaus 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. S2CID 581451.
  12. ^ Li, Zhen; Mayer, Robert J.; Ofial, Armin R.; Mayr, Herbert (2020-04-27). "From Carbodiimides to Carbon Dioxide: Quantification of the Electrophilic Reactivities of Heteroallenes". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 142 (18): 8383–8402. doi:10.1021/jacs.0c01960. PMID 32338511. S2CID 216557447.
  13. ^ "4,5-Dibenzoyl-1,3-dithiole-1-thione". Org. Synth. 73: 270. 1996. doi:10.15227/orgsyn.073.0270.
  14. ^ Werner, Helmut (1982). "Novel Coordination Compounds formed from CS2 and Heteroallenes". Coordination Chemistry Reviews. 43: 165–185. doi:10.1016/S0010-8545(00)82095-0.
  15. ^ Bridgman, P.W. (1941). "Explorations toward the limit of utilizable pressures". Journal of Applied Physics. 12 (6): 461–469. Bibcode:1941JAP....12..461B. doi:10.1063/1.1712926.
  16. ^ Ochiai, Bungo; Endo, Takeshi (2005). "Carbon dioxide and carbon disulfide as resources for functional polymers". Progress in Polymer Science. 30 (2): 183–215. doi:10.1016/j.progpolymsci.2005.01.005.
  17. ^ a b Lay, Manchiu D. S.; Sauerhoff, Mitchell W.; Saunders, Donald R.; "Carbon Disulfide", in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2000 doi: 10.1002/14356007.a05_185
  18. ^ Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, Alan (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 978-0-08-037941-8.
  19. ^ Worthing, Charles R.; Hance, Raymond J. (1991). The Pesticide Manual, A World Compendium (9th ed.). British Crop Protection Council. ISBN 9780948404429.
  20. ^ "ATSDR - Public Health Statement: Carbon Disulfide". Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  21. ^ a b c d e f "Chapter 5.4 : Carbon disulfide". Air Quality Guidelines (PDF) (2 ed.). WHO Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark. 2000. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  22. ^ "Occupational health and safety – chemical exposure". Swedish Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Assessment of Social Services (SBU). Archived from the original on 2017-06-06. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  23. ^ a b Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ a b c d e Blake, Nicola J. (2004). "Carbonyl sulfide and carbon disulfide: Large-scale distributions over the western Pacific and emissions from Asia during TRACE-P". Journal of Geophysical Research. 109 (D15): D15S05. Bibcode:2004JGRD..10915S05B. doi:10.1029/2003JD004259.
  25. ^ a b c d Nijhuis, Michelle (2009). "Bamboo Boom: Is This Material for You?". Scientific American. 19 (2): 60–65. Bibcode:2009SciAm..19f..60N. doi:10.1038/scientificamericanearth0609-60.
  26. ^ a b c d e Swan, Norman; Blanc, Paul (20 February 2017). "The health burden of viscose rayon". ABC Radio National.
  27. ^ "Regenerated cellulose by the Lyocell process, a brief review of the process and properties :: BioResources". BioRes. 2018.
  28. ^ Tierney, John William (2005). Kinetics of Cellulose Dissolution in N-MethylMorpholine-N-Oxide and Evaporative Processes of Similar Solutions (Thesis).
  29. ^ St. Clair, Kassia (2018). The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History. London: John Murray. pp. 213–215. ISBN 978-1-4736-5903-2. OCLC 1057250632.
  30. ^ Blanc, M.D., Paul David (15 November 2016). Fake Silk / The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon. Yale University Press. p. 79. ISBN 9780300204667. Retrieved 17 December 2020. in 1915,...[of 16] carbon disulfide poisoning worker had been briefly committed to an asylum and several others had experienced nervous system complaints...
  31. ^ Monosson, Emily (2016). "Toxic textiles". Science. 354 (6315): 977. Bibcode:2016Sci...354..977M. doi:10.1126/science.aak9834. PMID 27884997. S2CID 45869497.
  32. ^ Lampadius (1796). "Etwas über flüssigen Schwefel, und Schwefel-Leberluft" [Something about liquid sulfur and liver-of-sulfur gas (i.e., hydrogen sulfide)]. Chemische Annalen für die Freunde der Naturlehre, Arzneygelährtheit, Haushaltungskunst und Manufacturen (Chemical Annals for the Friends of Science, Medicine, Economics, and Manufactures) (in German) (2): 136–137.
  33. ^ Berzelius, J.; Marcet, Alexander (1813). "Experiments on the alcohol of sulphur, or sulphuret of carbon". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 103: 171–199. doi:10.1098/rstl.1813.0026. S2CID 94745906.
  34. ^ (Berzelius and Marcet, 1813), p. 187.

External links

  • Australian National Pollutant Inventory: Carbon disulfide
  • CDC - NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - Carbon Disulfide
  • Inno Motion Engineering
  • Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry Public Health Statement for Carbon Disulfide, 1996.
  • Resources on Carbon Disulfide by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Blanc, Paul David (2016). Fake silk : the lethal history of viscose rayon. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 328. ISBN 9780300204667.