Ammonium sulfide

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Not to be confused with ammonium sulfite.
Ammonium sulfide
IUPAC name
Ammonium sulfide
Other names
Diammonium sulfide
Diazanium sulfide
Jmol-3D images Image
Molar mass 68.154 g/mol
Appearance Yellow crystals
Odor Unpleasant, rotten eggs-like
Density 0.997 g/cm3
Melting point Decomposes
Boiling point Decomposes
128.1 g/100 mL (at 20 °C)
Solubility Reacts with acids, bases
Soluble in liquid ammonia, ethanol, methanol
Safety data sheet FisherScientific
Flash point 32.22 °C
Related compounds
Related compounds
Hydrogen sulfide
Ammonium sulfate
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Ammonium sulfide is an unstable ammonium salt with the formula (NH4)2S. It is a yellowish solid, stable below -18 °C.

As the hydrosulfide ion cannot be deprotonated to an appreciable amount by ammonia (pKa = 15), ammonium sulfide solutions also contain free ammonia and ammonium hydrosulfide (NH4)SH.



Ammonium sulfide will tarnish silver, by forming a layer of silver sulfide on its surface.


Ammonium sulfide is a yellowish solid compound at low temperatures, but unstable above -18 °C, with a very strong and highly unpleasant smell of rotten eggs. It is very soluble in water and ammonia, as well as alcohols.


Ammonium sulfide can be encountered as solution in "stink bombs".


Can be made by bubbling ammonia through an aqueous solution of hydrogen sulfide. For higher purity, dry hydrogen sulfide is bubbled through anhydrous ammonia.

This procedure is very dangerous and should ONLY be performed in well ventilated areas, preferably in some place far away from civilization.


Ammonium sulfide can be a good source of concentrated hydrogen sulfide for many reactions, however, due to its instability it's recommended to perform experimentation only in well ventilated places and proper protection must be worn at all times.

  • Make lead sulfide
  • Stink bomb
  • Selective reducing agent for some alkaloids



Ammonium sulfide releases hydrogen sulfide upon decomposition, which is very toxic. Proper protection must be worn all the time when handling the compound.

As the compound readily realeases hydrogen sulfide, extreme safety must be employed when working with the compound. A property of H2S is that is can temporarily deaden a person's sense of smell, a sickening effect that a few Sciencemadness members have had personal experiences with. If you are in an area with a strong smell of hydrogen sulfide, and then that strong smell suddenly disappears for no apparent reason, immediately leave the area! At the concentration where this occurs, the gas is potentially deadly, with a toxicity not very far from the infamous hydrogen cyanide, not to mention undetectable. Safety plans should be in order during any experiment which makes use of hydrogen sulfide, including a way to quickly leave the room/area.


Storage of ammonium sulfide presents great difficulties, as even the slightest leak will create a foul smelling environment. Ampouling the compound is generally the best method.


Hydrogen peroxide will oxidize ammonium sulfide to ammonium sulfate, which is safe to handle. Bubbling hot sulfur dioxide (70 °C) through the solution will give the same result.

It is recommended to avoid using bleach, as it may yield chloramines.


Relevant Sciencemadness threads