Sodium amyl xanthate (SAX) is a yellow salt with a pungent odour. It is an organ Sulphur compound with the formula ROCS2-M+. Xanthate salts are produced by the reaction of an alcohol with sodium or potassium hydroxide and carbon disulfide. The reaction involves the attack of the alkoxide salt.
ROH + CS2 + NaOH → ROCS2Na + H2O
It is soluble in water and decomposes easily when reacted with acid and heat.
Xanthate salts are produced by the reaction of an alcohol with sodium or potassium hydroxide and carbon disulfide
ROH + CS2 + KOH → ROCS2K + H2O
The reaction involves the attack of the alkoxide salt. For example, sodium ethoxide gives sodium ethyl xanthate. Virtually any alcohol can be used in this reaction. Technical grade xanthate salts are usually of 90–95% purity. Impurities include alkali-metal sulfide, sulfate, trithiocarbonates, thiosulfate, sulfite, or carbonate as well as residual raw material such as alcohol and alkali hydroxide. These salts are available commercially as powder, granules, flakes, sticks, and solutions are available.
Some commercially important xanthate salts include:
Sodium amyl xanthate (SAX), C5H11OCSSNa
sodium ethyl xanthate (SEX), CH3CH2OCS2Na,
potassium ethyl xanthate, CH3CH2OCS2K,
sodium isopropyl xanthate (SIPX)
sodium isobutyl xanthate (SIBX)
potassium amyl xanthate (PAX)
Sodium amyl xanthate is the most powerful collector of xanthates and is widely used in the flotation treatment of sulphide ores, especially for the flotation treatment of copper-nickel composite sulphide ores and gold mines related to pyrite. It is used in the flotation process of non-ferrous metal minerals, where strong but not selective collectors are required.
It is used in hydrometallurgical processes and applicable as a vulcanization accelerator for rubber industry.