Is CS2 an ionic or a covalent compound?

Carbon disulfide, often called carbon bisulfide or disulfide carbon, is a chemical compound made up of carbon and sulphide ions.

Carbon disulfide is a white liquid with a pleasant odour that resembles that of chloroform. Impure carbon disulfide, on the other hand, is a yellowish liquid with an unpleasant odour comparable to rotten vegetables that is commonly used in a variety of production processes.

At room temperature, carbon disulfide volatilizes, and the vapour is two times heavier than air. It implodes in the air and catches fire immediately.

So, what are your thoughts on the sulfur-carbon-sulfur bond?

So, is CS2 an ionic or a covalent compound? Because the electronegativity values of the carbon and sulphur atoms are almost identical, CS2 is a covalent molecule. The difference in electronegativity between the carbon and sulphur atoms is roughly 0.03, thus the link between them isn’t even polar. As a result, the carbon atom and each sulphur atom share two electrons, forming a double bond. As a result of the electron sharing among the involved atoms, the bond in CS2 is a covalent bond.

Because we’re talking about the possibilities of an ionic or covalent bond in CS2, let’s go over the differences between the two.

What is the definition of a covalent bond?

The equal sharing of electrons among the participating atoms creates a covalent connection.

The majority of these connections are formed within nonmetals or between the same elements.

However, electrons will not be transferred between two atoms with similar electronegativity from their outermost shell; instead, electrons will be shared to fill the valence electron shell.

Molecular bonds are another name for covalent bonds.

There are two methods for forming covalent bonds.

  1. The first is the sharing of electrons among related atoms, such as H2, O2, and so on.
  2. The sharing of electrons among distinct atoms, as observed in H2O, SO2, and CH4, is the other way. Read the article about SO2’s covalent nature.

Carbon Covalent Bonding

To maintain stability, the carbon atom’s electrical structure necessitates accepting or donating four electrons, which appears unlikely because:

  1. A carbon atom cannot take four electrons since it would be difficult for six protons to have 10 electrons, causing the carbon to lose its stability.
  2. Similarly, carbon cannot provide four electrons since it would require a tremendous amount of energy to eliminate four electrons. Furthermore, the C4+ would only be able to store two electrons per proton, making the carbon unstable.

As a result of its inability to accept or lose electrons, carbon chooses to share electrons in order to achieve its noble gas configuration and complete the octet, establishing a covalent bond.

The number of shared electrons determines the classification of covalent bonds.

What is the difference between covalent bonds and other forms of bonds?

The covalent bond can be classified into the following categories based on the number of shared electron pairs:

  1. Covalent Bond (Single)
  2. Covalent Double Bond
  3. Covalent Bond (Triple)

Covalent bond with a single atom

Single covalent bonds are those in which the two atoms share only one electron pair. It’s represented by a single dash (-).

When compared to double and triple bonds, this covalent bond has a lesser density and is considered weaker.

Single covalent bonds, on the other hand, are the most stable.

Bonds with two bonds

Double covalent bonds are formed when two electron pairs are shared between two atoms. A double dash (=) is used to denote it.

Although they are more stable than single bonds, double bonds are thought to be much stronger.

Bonds in threes

Triple covalent bonds are defined as bonds in which the two atoms share three electron pairs. Three dashes () are used to represent them.

When compared to single and double bonds, the stability of these triple bonds is quite low.

Several features are shared by all of these covalent connections. Let’s have a look at the properties of covalent bonding now.

Covalent Bond Properties

The following are the qualities of covalent bonds:

  1. Non-metallic elements, such as hydrogen, oxygen, and others, create covalent bonds.
  2. When a covalent bond is established, no new electrons are created; instead, only pairing occurs.
  3. Covalent bonds are made up of two, four, or six electrons that are shared in single, double, or triple bonds, respectively.
  4. Covalent bonding creates a strong chemical link between atoms.
  5. A covalent bond has an average energy of about 80 kcal/mol.
  6. Bond-breaking rarely occurs instinctively after covalent connections have been created.
  7. Several compounds with covalent bonds have mild melting and boiling temperatures and lower vaporisation and fusion enthalpies.

Because there are no free-flowing electrons in covalently bonded compounds, they cannot conduct electricity.

  1. Water is insoluble for covalent compounds.

Now let’s look at the ionic bond in more detail.

What is the definition of an ionic bond?

If the difference in electronegativity between two participating atoms is large, ionic bonding occurs.

Because of this large difference, the less electronegative atom donates an electron, allowing the more electronegative atom to absorb an electron, resulting in the formation of two ions.

These oppositely charged ions attract one other, forming an ionic bond as a result of electrostatic attraction.

In most cases, an ionic bond is formed between a nonmetal that gains an electron and a metal that loses an electron.

Metals have fewer valence electrons than nonmetals, which have almost eight valence electrons. As a result, the nonmetal will gain one electron from the metal in order to complete the octet rule rapidly.

The ionic bond is created when more than one electron is gained or donated. The number of electrons lost or gained is represented by the charges on the anion and cation.

A good example of an ionic compound is salt.

You might also look at the article I created about NaCl’s ionic nature.

In ionic bonding, the overall charge must usually be zero.

We now have a better understanding of the characteristics of ionic bonding.

Ionic Bond Properties

The following characteristics are observed as a result of the active force of attraction that exists between the cations and anions in ionic molecules:

  1. Ionic bonds are the strongest of all the bonds in chemistry.
  2. The ionic bond is the most reactive of all the bonds in the normal state because it divides the charges as cation and anion.
  3. Ionic-bonding compounds have a high melting and boiling point.
  4. Because of the ions that serve to carry the charge, molecules with ionic bonds in their aqueous solutions or molten form are considered good electrical conductors.

Let’s look at the differences between ionic and covalent bonds now that we’ve gone over them thoroughly.

Covalent vs. Ionic Bonds: What’s the Difference?

Atomic bonds include covalent bonds and ionic bonds. The qualities and arrangement of these bonds differ.

Covalent bonds are formed when two atoms share electron pairs and connect them in a solid state. An ionic bond, on the other hand, is a bond between two ions.

Within two non-metallic atoms, covalent bonds are formed by the sharing of a pair of electrons and the development of additional covalent bonds with electronegativity differences greater than 2.0.

Polyatomic ions are produced in a covalent link.

The ionic bond, on the other hand, is formed by electrostatic attraction between oppositely charged ions.

Why is CS2 a covalent compound?

From the study of covalent and ionic bonds, let us understand the covalent bonding phenomenon in CS2.

The electronegativity difference between carbon and sulphur atoms in CS2 is modest, implying that the potential to attract electrons towards itself among carbon and sulphur atoms is small.

Sulphur has an electronegativity of 2.58, while carbon has 2.55.

These insignificantly polar linkages in opposing orientations cancel the net polarity of the carbon disulfide by cutting the polarity among each other.

As a result, the carbon disulfide’s dipole moment is zero, and it is not ionic due to its weak polarity.

Furthermore, because of its weak polarity, CS2 [S=C=S] is considered non-polar and has a linear geometry.

Read the article about the polarity of CS2 that was written specifically for it.

Because the electronegativity values of carbon and sulphur differ somewhat, the shared electrons pair remains in the centre, equally pulled towards each element.

The sharing of electrons between the involved atoms forms the covalent bond.

The carbon atom shares two electrons with each sulphur atom, and the sulphur atom easily shares its two electrons with the carbon atom, establishing a double bond.

Where does Carbon Disulfide come from?

Small amounts of carbon disulfide are found in nature in gases and are released to the earth’s surface in volcanic eruptions, for example.

Interestingly, bacteria might also make carbon disulfide-carrying gas in soil.

Carbon and sulphur are mixed at extremely high temperatures to produce industrial carbon disulfide.

Carbon Disulphide has a variety of uses.

Carbon Disulfide, on the other hand, is well-known for its vast range of applications.

  1. In the production of petroleum catalysts from carbon tetrachloride and rayon.

Electronic vacuum tubes are used to make soil disinfectants.

  1. In rubber manufacture, act as a solvent for iodine and phosphorus.
  2. Used as a pesticide component and in camphor.


To recap, electronegativity, or the ability to pull electrons towards itself, can be used to investigate the ionic or covalent nature of bonds.

As a result of its weak and trivial polarity, the bonds in carbon disulfide are not ionic. Due to the small difference in electronegativities of carbon and sulphur, the bonds in carbon disulfide are covalent.

In carbon disulfide, each carbon atom shares two electrons with each sulphur atom, resulting in CS2 bonding being covalent with a linear shape, with carbon and sulphur positioned at 180o.

Read more: Diagram, Steps To Draw The Argon Bohr Model

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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