Carbon disulfide is made for commercial use by combining carbon and sulfur at very high temperatures. It has been an important industrial chemical since the 1800s because of its many useful properties, including its ability to solubilise fats, rubbers, phosphorus, sulfur, and other elements. Its fat-solvent properties also make it indispensable in preparing fats, lacquers, and camphor; in refining petroleum jelly and paraffin; and in extracting oil from bones, palmstones, olives, and rags. It was also used in processing India rubber sap from tropical trees. In all these extraction processes, it has now been replaced by other solvents.
Carbon disulfide's most important industrial use has been in the manufacture of regenerated cellulose rayon (by the viscose process) and cellophane. Another principal industrial use for carbon disulfide has been as a feedstock for carbon tetrachloride production. It has also been used to protect fresh fruit from insects and fungus during shipping, in adhesives for food packaging, and in the solvent extraction of growth inhibitors.
Carbon disulfide has been highly suitable for other industrial applications including the vulcanisation and manufacture of rubber and rubber accessories; the production of resins, xanthates, thiocyanates, plywood adhesives, and flotation agents; solvent and spinning-solution applications, primarily in the manufacture of rayon and polymerisation inhibition of vinyl chloride; conversion and processing of hydrocarbons; petroleum-well cleaning; brightening of precious metals in electroplating; rust removal from metals; and removal and recovery of metals and other elements from waste water and other media. In agriculture, carbon disulfide has been widely used as a fumigant to control insects in stored grain, and to remove botfly larva infestations from the stomachs of horses and ectoparasites from swine. Use of carbon disulfide as a grain fumigant in the USA was voluntarily cancelled after 1985.
Substance name: Carbon disulfide
CASR number: 75-15-0
Molecular formula: CS2
Synonyms: carbon disulphide; carbon bisulfide; carbon bisulphide; dithiocarbonic anhydride; alcohol of sulfur; carbon bisulfuret; carbon sulfide; carbon sulphide; weeviltox; sulfocarbonic anhydride
Pure carbon disulfide is a colourless liquid with a pleasant odour that is like the smell of chloroform. The impure carbon disulfide that is usually used in most laboratory and industry processes is a colourless to faintly yellow liquid with a strong, disagreeable cabbage-like odour detectable at 0.016 to 0.42 ppm. It is highly refractive. Slightly soluble in water. It is miscible with anhydrous methanol, ethanol, ether, benzene, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and oils.
Melting Point: -111.5°C
Boiling Point: 46.5°C
Specific Gravity: 1.2632
Vapour Density: 2.67
Flash Point: -30°C
1 ppm = 3.11 mg/m3
Very highly flammable, very low flash point.
Carbon disulfide easily forms explosive mixtures with air and catches fire very easily; it is dangerous when exposed to heat, flame, sparks, or friction. Vapours can be ignited by contact with an ordinary light bulb. It is incompatible or reactive with strong oxidisers; chemically active metals such as sodium, potassium and zinc; azides; rust; halogens; and amines. When exposed to heat or flame, carbon disulfide reacts violently with chlorine, azides, ethylamine diamine, ethylene imine, fluorine, nitric oxide, and zinc. When heated to decomposition, it emits highly toxic fumes of sulfur oxide; it can react vigorously with oxidising materials.
The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) holds data for all sources of carbon disulfide emissions in Australia.
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