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Chemistry LibreTexts

Carbon disulfide

Beware: stench. Pure carbon disulfide does not have a particularly unpleasant smell however the impurities which contaminate most forms of the comercially available reagant are responsible for the bad odour. When working with carbon disulfide there are three very important things to remember:

  1. It is extremely flammable. Having a high vapour pressure and a low flash point means that CS2 readily evaporates and can form explosive mixtures with air. CS2-air mixtures can reportedly explode when in contact with objects that would not normally serve as a source of ignition- steam baths, heating mantles, ovens and hot water pipes, as well as the usual stuff like naked flame. Take care to contain CS2 vapours, use within a fumehood and do not under any circumstances pour down the sink.
  2. CS2 is toxic. It targets the central nervous system and can have very serious health effects such as nausea, psychosis, even death. DO NOT INHALE, INGEST OR ALLOW IT TO COME IN CONTACT WITH SKIN.
  3. As mentioned earlier, the stench of CS2 is likely to make you very unpopular with your lab mates. Take every precaution to prevent its release into the atmosphere.

Obviously, you need to read the materials safety data sheet before you work with this compound. Also consult experienced chemists within your group before you use it.