Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Anyone interested in sulfur nitride?

Theoretic - 23-7-2003 at 08:47

If anyone might be interested, an explosive (on percussion, friction or 100C) compound S4N4 is prepared thus:
in a nonpolar solvent - quote - (like CCl4 or C6H6) - I think CS2 would do too
(precursor S2Cl2 - orange in colour - by bubbling chlorine through liquid S - if turns red - too much chlorine)

[Edited on 23-7-2003 by Theoretic]

BASF - 23-7-2003 at 09:05

Sounds interesting...

Sulfur nitride has not been discussed yet...not here, not on other forums, as far as i can remember.

It is one of the compounds whose explosive(?) power comes solely from the high heat of formation of N2.

I guess it would make a good hellhoffite-binary mix with an oxidizer like nitric acid, if it would be liquid, like panclastite.

Where do you have your information from?


Nick F - 23-7-2003 at 09:26

KIBC has a method for producing it.

Theoretic - 24-7-2003 at 06:46

Actually, S4N4 is orange crystalls, it still could make a good, sensitive pyrotechnic mixture (if you've made your wish - S4N4 explodes EASILY).
The information? Oh, the net, books, science&technology dictionaries... but it's not always there.:(

Some N4S4 infos....

kazaa81 - 3-10-2005 at 12:49

Here are some N4S4 (i would prefer to call it nitrogen sulphide) I've found:

Nitrogen Sulfide

Nitrogen sulfide was first prepared by Soubeiran in 1837
by the action of ammonia on sulfur dichloride dissolved
in benzene.

6 SCl2 + 16 NH3 ------> N4S4 + 2 S + 12 NH4Cl

It is conveniently prepared by dissolving 1 volume of
sulfur chloride in 8 or 10 volumes of cabon disulfide,
cooling and passing in dry ammonia gas until the dark
brown powdery precipitate which forms at first has
dissolved and an orange-yellow solution results which
contains light-colored flocks of ammonium chloride.
These are filtered off and rinsed with carbon disulfide,
the solution is evaporated to dryness, and the residue
is extracted with boiling carbon disulfide for the
removal of sulfur.
The undissolved material is crude nitrogen sulfide.
The hot extract on cooling deposits a further
quantity in the form of minute golden-yellow crystals.
The combined crude product is recrystallized from
carbon disulfide.
The same product is also produced by the action of
ammonia on sulfur dichloride in carbon disulfide,
benzene, or ether solution.

6 S2Cl2 + 16 NH3 -----> N4S4 + 8 S + 12 NH4Cl

Nitrogen sulfide has a density of 2,22 at 15°.
It is insoluble in water, slightly soluble in
alcohol and ether, somewhat more soluble in
carbon disulfide and benzene.
It reacts slowly with water at ordinary
temperature with the formation of
pentathionic acid, sulfur dioxide, free sulfur,
and ammonia.
It melts with saublimation at 178°, and
explodes at a higher temperature which, however,
is variable according to the rate at which the
substance is heated.
Berthelot found that it deflagrates at 207° or
higher, and remarked that this temperature is
about the same as the temperature of combustion
of sulfur in the open air.
Berthelot and Vieille studied the
thermochemical properties of nitrogen sulfide.
Their data, recalculated to conform to our
present notions of atomic and molecular weight,
show that the substance is strongly endothermic
and has a heat of formation of -138,8 calories
per mol.
It detonates with vigor under a hammer blow,
but is less sensitive to shock and less violent
in its effects than mercury fulminate.
Although its rate of accelleration is
considerably less than that of mercury
fulminate, it has been recommended as a
filling for fuses, primers, and detonator caps,
both alone and in mixtures with oxidizing agents
such as lead peroxide, lead nitrate and potassium

MP 178°C
BP explosion at 185°C
Mol. Weight 184,27

Nitrogen sulfide, also called sulfur nitride,
nitrogen tetrasulfide, tetranitrogen tetrasulfide,
or Schwefelstickstoff, is a very unstable primary
explosive compound.
Its manufacture is hazardous and rather complicated,
yet is has found some industrial uses in detonators,
diesel fuel as an ignition promoter, pesticides,
fungicides, and as an accelerator in rubber
Nitrogen sulfide is sensitive to heat, friction,
shock, and will explode if heated over 160°C if
impurities are present.
The chemicals used in this lab are not easily
obtainable, but can be made by the home chemist.
The main ingredient is sulfur dichloride, an
unstable and toxic compound, benzene is also used
but it is about as popular as a rapist at a
feminist gathering.
Its stigma is "carcinogen," not even labs use it
much anymore, so now labs do not sell it, and no
public store will carry such toxins.
It is possible to use toluene or carbon tetrachloride

Dissolve 131 mL of freshly prepared sulfur dichloride
in 1950 mL of benzene in a large Erlenmeyer flask.
You may pour the solution through a filter to remove
any impurities that may have been in the sulfur
dichloride, but it is best to purify it beforehand.
Bubble anhydrous ammonia gas through the solution.
A brown precipitate will begin to form, continue
adding ammonia until this precipitate dissolves and
forms an orange-yellow solution. Now large amounts
of ammonium chloride will precipitate out of solution.
Carefully heat the benzene until it boils.
Immediately pour this solution over a filter to
remove the crystals, collect the filtrate.
Wash the crystals with 200 mL of benzene and add
the wash to the filtrate.
Allow the benzene filtrate to evaporate until a
crystalline slush remains, filter the slush, and
allow to dry.
Using vacuum drying or a desiccator can speed
the process.
The resulting product should be yellow to orange-red
crystals of nitrogen sulfide.
You will need a graduated cylinder for measuring liquids.

I would like to make some of it too.....(first I must make SCl2).

garage chemist - 3-10-2005 at 13:52

For production of S2Cl2 look here:

kazaa81 - 8-10-2005 at 06:37

Thank you, garage chemist!
I will try to make some S2Cl2 or's quite an interesting compound.....

long ago on roguesci.

stygian - 8-10-2005 at 06:42

I started a discussion about N4S4 (couple of them actually). I don't remember how much discussion there was but if you're interested search for posts by FadeToBlackened. (if you can get on roguesci, that is. i havent been able to for over a year?)

kazaa81 - 8-10-2005 at 06:59

I've found an archive-thread, but the talk doesn't seem to me that much constructive....I post the archive-thread:

N4S4 - Archive File


Frequent Poster
Posts: 201
From: Hell
Registered: MAR 2001
posted 03-22-2001 12:31 PM
Has anyone here ever tried to make nitrogen sulfide? What can you tell me about it? Is it feasible to make it or is it not worth the risk or whatever? I'm thinking of trying it because it doesnt use sulfuric or nitric acids like all the good nitro compounds.

Frequent Poster
Posts: 229
Registered: JAN 2001
posted 03-22-2001 12:57 PM
I don't imagine it would be worth the risk or the trouble. If anything, some of the chemicals needed are more dangerous and more difficult to obtain than those required for more conventional "products".
See for a more complete overview.

Frequent Poster
Posts: 201
From: Hell
Registered: MAR 2001
posted 03-22-2001 01:01 PM
Yes I have read that page it iis excellent. It says carbon-tet. can be used instead of benzene can be used. There is a method in KIBC for makin sulfur dichloride. Im no chemist but is there any reason it shouldnt work? It is basically bubbling chlorine through molten sulfur and distilling it.

Frequent Poster
Posts: 236
From: EU
Registered: JAN 2001
posted 03-22-2001 01:45 PM
Have fun with bubbling chlorine through molten sulfur... tht's gonna be extremely nasty...
for best catfood visit:

Mr Cool
Frequent Poster
Posts: 991
From: None of your bloody business!
Registered: DEC 2000
posted 03-22-2001 02:09 PM
It's very easy, but very dangerous to make. Well, not VERY easy to make, but extremely possible. If I were you, however, I'd stick to HMTD or AP. These are MUCH easier to make, and probably safer to use.

Frequent Poster
Posts: 201
From: Hell
Registered: MAR 2001
posted 03-22-2001 02:20 PM
Thanks everyone. BTW What are some other solvents i can use? I know toluene, benzene, and carbon-tet., which could be made, but are there any others readily available? Different automotive fluids or what not?
i say what not too much... :

PHILOU Zrealone
Frequent Poster
Posts: 479
From: Brussels,Belgium,Europe
Registered: SEP 2000
posted 04-06-2001 05:15 AM
nitrogen sulfide:
VOD:5190m/s at 1.6g/ccm

On megalomania site, there is a N4S4 preparation, but I've previously posted it in my post. here is the url if anyone would have a look:

franklyn - 4-7-2006 at 19:22

Originally posted by Theoretic _ _ Anyone interested in sulfur nitride?

Yes I am very interested and not so much for its explosive properties , rather
for it's properties of electric conductivity. This suggests to me that much the
same as an exploding bridgewire , a strip of this explosive could be detonated
all at once. This would simplify the shaping of detonation waves as compared
to methods employing point initiation.

An article from britannica online describing this , is quoted here _

Sulfur forms a variety of covalent binary nitrides, but the two most interesting
ones are tetrasulfur tetranitride, S4N4, and disulfur dinitride, S2N2, because
they are precursors to an unusual polymer called polythiazyl, (SN)x. This
polymeric sulfur nitride is unusual because, even though it is composed solely
of two nonmetals, it exhibits some properties normally associated only with
metals. The best preparation of S4N4 involves bubbling NH3 into a heated
(50° C) solution of S2Cl2 dissolved in CCl4 or C6H6.

6S2Cl2 + 16NH3 -> S4N4 + S8 + 12NH4Cl

Tetrasulfur tetranitride forms thermochromic crystals, which are crystals that
change colour with temperature. They are red at temperatures above 100° C,
orange at 25° C, and colourless at -190° C. The crystals are stable in air but
will explode in response to shock or friction. The compound has a cage
structure with a plane of four nitrogen atoms with two sulfur atoms above and
below the plane (see Figure 15). When S4N4 vapour is pumped through silver
wool at 250°–300° C and low pressure (less than 1.0 mm Hg), an unstable
dimer, S2N2, can be condensed. This compound has an essentially square
structure with alternating sulfur and nitrogen atoms. Like S4N4, it is sensitive
to shock and can explode when heated to temperatures higher than 30° C.
At 25° C, S2N2 slowly polymerizes through a ring opening mechanism to
polythiazyl, (SN)x. This rather amazing material has a bronze colour, a metallic
lustre, and the electrical and thermal conductivity of a metal. It becomes a
superconductor at 0.26 kelvin (K; see superconductivity).

Nick F - 5-7-2006 at 12:52

"Yes I am very interested and not so much for its explosive properties, rather
for it's properties of electric conductivity."

S4N4 itself is not conductive, nor is the aromatic S2N2. And (SN)x is not explosive since it doesn't have all that strain.

Also, what about :

2 NH4Cl + 4 S2Cl2 --> ([S3N2Cl]+ Cl-) + 8 HCl + 5 S
3 ([S3N2Cl]+ Cl-) + 3 Cl2 --> 2 (NSCl)3 + 3 SCl2


S4N4 + 2 SO2Cl2 --> 4/3 (NSCl)3 + 2 SO2

and then, at low temperature to prevent monomerisation of the (NSCl)3,

(NSCl)3 + 3 NaN3 --> (NSN3)3 + 3 NaCl

Actually, it's probably better if you don't try that......

Another good one is:

3 PCl5 + 3 NH4Cl --> (NPCl2)3 + 12 HCl
(NPCl2)3 + 6 NaN3 --> (NP(N3)2)3 , a rather explosive oil!

(NPCl2)3 can be polymerised by heating to around 250*C to form an EXTREMELY elastic material. Then, if you could find a suitable inert solvent, substitution with sodium azide could make some interesting stuff! :D

franklyn - 6-7-2006 at 18:56

Nick F , I see you have done a study of this. I recall another
candidate organic conductor is doped poly-acetylene. Seems pure
materials of this type are more like a semiconductor.

Nick F - 7-7-2006 at 05:58

I haven't studied it very much. I had a lecture course on p-block inorganic rings, chains and networks this year.
Yeah, polyacetylenes have potential, although if I remember correctly, most of the doped conductors based on acetylene are not very air-stable. I was thinking it would be cool if you could somehow make carbon nanotubes with electron donors or acceptors inside the tube. They should be nice and conductive like intercalated graphite, and yet they should also have very good mechanical properties and would be ideal for making wires.