Sodium sulfide is the chemical compound with the formula Na2S, or more commonly its hydrate Na2S·9H2O. Both are colorless water-soluble salts that give strongly alkaline solutions. When exposed to moist air, Na2S and its hydrates emit hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs. Some commercial samples are specified as Na2S·xH2O, where a weight percentage of Na2S is specified. Commonly available grades have around 60% Na2S by weight, which means that x is around 3. Such technical grades of sodium sulfide have a yellow appearance owing to the presence of polysulfides. These grades of sodium sulfide are marketed as 'sodium sulfide flakes'. Although the solid is yellow, solutions of it are colorless.
3D model (JSmol)
|UN number||1385 (anhydrous)|
|Molar mass||78.0452 g/mol (anhydrous)|
240.18 g/mol (nonahydrate)
|Appearance||colorless, hygroscopic solid|
|Density||1.856 g/cm3 (anhydrous) |
1.58 g/cm3 (pentahydrate)
1.43 g/cm3 (nonohydrate)
|Melting point|| 1,176 °C (2,149 °F; 1,449 K) (anhydrous) |
100 °C (pentahydrate)
50 °C (nonahydrate)
|12.4 g/100 mL (0 °C) |
18.6 g/100 mL (20 °C)
39 g/100 mL (50 °C)
|Solubility||insoluble in ether |
slightly soluble in alcohol
|Antifluorite (cubic), cF12|
|Fm3m, No. 225|
|Tetrahedral (Na+); cubic (S2−)|
|Safety data sheet||ICSC 1047|
Dangerous for the environment (N)
|R-phrases (outdated)||R31, R34, R50|
|S-phrases (outdated)||(S1/2), S26, S45, S61|
|NFPA 704 (fire diamond)|
|> 480 °C (896 °F; 753 K)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Na2S adopts the antifluorite structure, which means that the Na+ centers occupy sites of the fluoride in the CaF2 framework, and the larger S2− occupy the sites for Ca2+.
- Na2SO4 + 2 C → Na2S + 2 CO2
- 2 Na + S → Na2S
Reactions with inorganic reagents
The sulfide ion in sulfide salts such as sodium sulfide can incorporate a proton into the salt by protonation:
+ H+ → SH−
Because of this capture of the proton ( H+), sodium sulfide has basic character. Sodium sulfide is strongly basic, able to absorb two protons. Its conjugate acid is sodium hydrosulfide (SH−
). An aqueous solution contains a significant portion of sulfide ions that are singly protonated.
Sodium sulfide is unstable in the presence of water due to the gradual loss of hydrogen sulfide into the atmosphere.
- 2 Na2S + 3 O2 + 2 CO
2 → 2 Na2CO3 + 2 SO2
- Na2S + 4 H2O2 → 4 H
2O + Na2SO4
Upon treatment with sulfur, polysulfides are formed:
- 2 Na2S + S8 → 2 Na2S5
It is used in water treatment as an oxygen scavenger agent and also as a metals precipitant; in chemical photography for toning black and white photographs; in the textile industry as a bleaching agent, for desulfurising and as a dechlorinating agent; and in the leather trade for the sulfitisation of tanning extracts. It is used in chemical manufacturing as a sulfonation and sulfomethylation agent. It is used in the production of rubber chemicals, sulfur dyes and other chemical compounds. It is used in other applications including ore flotation, oil recovery, making dyes, and detergent. It is also used during leather processing, as an unhairing agent in the liming operation.
Reagent in organic chemistry
Alkylation of sodium sulfide give thioethers:
- Na2S + 2 RX → R2S + 2 NaX
Even aryl halides participate in this reaction. By a broadly similar process sodium sulfide can react with alkenes in the thiol-ene reaction to give thioethers. Sodium sulfide can be used as nucleophile in Sandmeyer type reactions. Sodium sulfide reduces1,3-dinitrobenzene derivatives to the 3-nitroanilines. Aqueous solution of sodium sulfide can be refluxed with nitro carrying azo dyes dissolved in dioxane and ethanol to selectively reduce the nitro groups to amine; while other reducible groups, e.g. azo group, remain intact. Sulfide has also been employed in photocatalytic applications.
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