Sulfur dichloride

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Template:Chembox E numberTemplate:Chembox SolubilityInWater
Sulfur dichloride
IUPAC name Sulfur(II) chloride
Other names sulfur dichloride
sulfur chloride
3D model (JSmol)
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RTECS number WS4500000
Molar mass 102.97 g mol−1
Appearance red liquid at STP
Density 1.621 g cm−3, liquid
Melting point
Boiling point
Refractive index (nD) 1.5570
Main hazards corrosive
R-phrases R14; R34; R37; N; R50
Related compounds
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Sulfur dichloride is the chemical compound with the formula SCl2. This cherry-red liquid is the simplest sulfur chloride and one of the most common. It is used as a precursor to organosulfur compounds.[1]

Chlorination of sulfur

SCl2 is produced by the chlorination of either elemental sulfur. The process occurs in a series of steps, some of which are:

S8 + 4 Cl2 → 4 S2Cl2; ΔH = −58.2 kJ/mol
S2Cl2 + Cl2 → 2 SCl2; ΔH = −40.6 kJ/mol

The addition of Cl2 to S2Cl2 has been proposed to proceed via a mixed valence intermediate Cl3S-SCl. SCl2 undergoes even further chlorination to give SCl4, but this species is unstable at near room temperature. It is likely that several SxCl2 exist where x > 2.

Disulfur dichloride, S2Cl2, is the most common impurity in SCl2. Separation of SCl2 from S2Cl2 is possible via distillation with PCl3 to form an azeotrope of 99% purity

Use of SCl2 in chemical synthesis

SCl2 is also a precursor to several inorganic sulfur compounds. Treatment with fluoride salts gives SF4. Reaction with ammonia affords sulfur nitrides related to S4N4. With H2S, SCl2 reacts to give "higher" sulfanes such as S3H2.

Safety considerations

SCl2 hydrolyzes with release of HCl. Old samples contain Cl2.


  1. Schmidt, M.; Siebert, W. "Sulphur" Comprehensive Inorganic Chemistry Vol. 2, ed. A.F. Trotman-Dickenson. 1973.
  2. Bishop, R. "9-Thiabicyclo[3.3.1]nonane-2,6-dione" Organic Syntheses, Collected Volume 9, p.692 (1998).
  3. R. J. Cremlyn “An Introduction to Organosulfur Chemistry” John Wiley and Sons: Chichester (1996). ISBN 0 471 95512 4.