carbon disulfide

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carbon disulfide,

CS2, liquid organic compound; it is colorless, foul-smelling, flammable, and poisonous. It can be prepared by direct reaction of carbon, e.g., as charcoal, with sulfur. It is a widely used solvent, e.g., for rubber, and is used to treat alkali cellulose in the viscose process (a source of rayon and cellophane). Carbon disulfide reacts with chlorine in the presence of a catalyst to form carbon tetrachloride.

Carbon Disulfide


CS2, a compound of sulfur and carbon. Carbon disulfide is a colorless liquid with a density of 1.2927 g/cm3, a boiling point of 46.26°C, and a melting point of – 112.1°C. It is only slightly soluble in water but is miscible with alcohol, ether, and chloroform in any proportions. Vapors of carbon disulfide ignite at 236°C. The compound is decomposed by strong oxidizing agents (KMnO4) with the separation of sulfur. Carbon disulfide reacts with SO3 to form carbonyl sulfide, COS. With an oxide of chlorine, carbon disulfide reacts to form COCl2 (phosgene):

CS2 + 3Cl2O = COCl2 + 2SOl2

Upon heating with metal oxides, carbon disulfide readily exchanges sulfur for oxygen.

At elevated temperatures, carbon disulfide reacts with H2 to form H2S. Carbon disulfide is produced industrially by passing sulfur vapors over hot charcoal:

C + 2S = CS2

Carbon disulfide is used in industry as a solvent and an extraction medium. However, most carbon disulfide is used in the production of viscose.


Carbon disulfide is poisonous. Poisoning can occur when producing viscose and carbon disulfide and when using CS2 as a solvent and extraction medium. Carbon disulfide easily penetrates the blood through the respiratory system and skin. Acute poisoning is produced by concentrations of carbon disulfide in the air of 1 milligram per liter and higher. Carbon disulfide poisoning derives from the compound’s effect on the central and peripheral nervous systems, blood vessels, and metabolic processes.

Mild cases of acute poisoning are characterized by a narcotic effect (dizziness, a feeling of intoxication) on the victim. If the poisoning has been severe, excitation is induced with the possible development of a coma. Psychological changes can result from repeated acute poisoning. Functional neurovascular disorders, psychological instability, and sleep disorders are characteristic of chronic poisoning. Encephalitis and polyneuritis may develop upon prolonged chronic poisoning by carbon disulfide.

Preventive measures to be taken in working with carbon disulfide include the hermetic sealing of equipment, the mechanization of production processes, and the use of ventilators. The respiratory organs and skin can be protected by wearing, for example, respirators, gloves, and aprons. Prior and periodic medical examinations are mandatory.


Drogichina, E. A. Professional’nye bolezni nervnoi sistemy. Leningrad, 1968.
Professional’nye bolezni, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1973.


carbon disulfide

[¦kär·bən dī′səl‚fīd]
(organic chemistry)
CS2 A sulfide, used as a solvent for oils, fats, and rubbers and in paint removers.
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