Phosphorus pentasulfide

Phosphorus Pentasulfide

Phosphorus pentasulfide

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Phosphorus pentasulfide is the inorganic compound with the formula P<sub>4</sub>S<sub>10</sub>. This yellow solid is the one of two phosphorus sulfides of commercial value. Samples often appear greenish-gray due to impurities.

Structure and synthesis

Its tetrahedral molecular structure is related to that of adamantane and is almost identical to the structure of phosphorus pentoxide.

Phosphorus pentasulfide is obtained by the reaction of liquid white phosphorus (P<sub>4</sub>) with sulfur above 300 °C. The first synthesis of P<sub>4</sub>S<sub>10</sub> by Berzelius in 1843 can be formed by reacting elemental sulfur or pyrite, FeS<sub>2</sub>, with ferrophosphorus, impure Fe<sub>2</sub>P (a byproduct of P<sub>4</sub> production from phosphate rock):
4 Fe<sub>2</sub>P + 18 S → P<sub>4</sub>S<sub>10</sub> + 8 FeS
4 Fe<sub>2</sub>P + 18 FeS<sub>2</sub> + heat → P<sub>4</sub>S<sub>10</sub> + 26 FeS


Approximately 150,000 tons of P<sub>4</sub>S<sub>10</sub> are produced annually. The compound is mainly converted to other derivatives for use as lubrication additives such zinc dithiophosphates. It is also used in the production...
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