Chemical profile: carbon disulfide

08 September 2008 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Mark Kirschner/New York


2006: 123m lbs (56,000 tonnes) 2007: 123m lbs 2011: 121m lbs, projected. Demand equals production plus imports (2006: 4m lbs 2007: 3m lbs) less exports (2006: 9m lbs 2007: 18m lbs). Sources: ICIS Chemical Business USITC


Historical (2002-2007): -0.8%/year (negative). Future: -0.5%/year (negative) through 2011. Source: ICIS Chemical Business


Historical (2002-2007): High, $673/short ton, FAS (free alongside ship), Export Value low, $347/ton, same basis. Current: $779-824/ton, same basis. Source: USITC


Agricultural chemicals, 44% rayon staple and tow, 24% rubber chemicals, 24% cellophane and other regenerated cellulosics,4% miscellaneous, 4%. Source: ICIS Chemical Business


Previously, the largest market segment for carbon disulfide was carbon tetrachloride, which accounted for 40% of consumption in 1980, equivalent to 414m lbs. But with the ratification of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, demand for carbon disulfide in the production of carbon tetrachloride declined significantly. By 1992, this application ceased to exist in the US.

Agricultural uses of carbon disulfide are the largest application segment. In 2007, 54m lbs of carbon disulfide were consumed in the production of agricultural chemicals, which amounts to 44% of carbon disulfide demand. One of the largest consumption areas in agricultural chemicals is in the manufacture of dithiocarbamates, which are used as fungicides, biocides and fumigants. The major compound produced is metam-sodium (N-methyl dithiocarbamate), used for soil fumigation. Metam-sodium consumption for potatoes, peanuts and vegetables is expected to grow by about 1%/year. In recent years, demand has been aided by the phasing out of methyl bromide in some fumigation uses.

Rayon fiber and rubber chemicals each account for 24% of demand. Rayon is used in apparel, home furnishings, nonwoven webs and fabrics, and industrial applications. In the mid-1980s, rayon demand began to decline, and between 1994 and 2004 carbon disulfide consumption for rayon manufacture declined by nearly 9%/year. More recently, rayon has been declining by 5%/year.

Rayon's decline is attributable to the use of fiber blends in place of 100% rayon in order to reduce cost, and displacement of rayon by lyocell, which does not consume carbon disulfide. Lyocell fiber is manufactured directly from high-purity cellulosic wood pulp, whereas rayon is manufactured from a cellulose derivative that is chemically regenerated back to cellulose during the spinning process.

The rubber industry requires carbon disulfide in the manufacture of vulcanization accelerators. These accelerators are known as sulfonamides, mercaptobenzothiazoles, dithiocarbamates and thiurams. Production of these rubber-curing accelerators required 30m lbs of carbon disulfide in 2007. The rubber accelerators market parallels that for tires, and is forecast to continue growing by 1.5%/year through 2011.


The long decline in carbon disulfide demand appears to be coming to an end, stabilizing between 120m-125m lbs/year. New applications for carbon disulfide are not evident. In the future, there will be modest gains in rubber and agricultural chemicals, but these will be offset by a slightly higher consumption decrease in rayon, resulting in a negative 0.5% demand growth through 2011.

Company Location Capacity
AkzoNobel Le Moyne, Alabama 240
Arkema Houston, Texas 40
PPG Industries Natrium, West Virginia 60

Commercial production is from preheated natural gas, which is mixed with vaporized sulfur, and which then in turn is passed over a catalyst such as silica gel, bauxite, catalytic clay or alumina.


Profile last published July 18, 2005

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