Decomposition of CH3SH in a RF plasma reactor: Reaction products and mechanisms

Cheng Hsien Tsai, Wen Jhy Lee, Chuh Yung Chen, Wei Tung Liao

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49 Citations (Scopus)


Application of the RF (radio frequency) cold plasma method to the decomposition of methanethiol (methyl mercaptan, CH3SH) at different O2/CH3SH ratios (0-4.5), with various input powers (20-90 W), and at constant operating pressure (30 Torr) was investigated. The species detected in the CH3SH/O2/Ar RF plasma were SO2, CS2, OCS, CO, CO2, CH4, C2H4 C2H2, H2, H2O, HCOH, and CH3OH. However, CS2, CH4, C2H4, C2H2, H2, H2S, CH3SCH3 (DMS), and CH3S2CH3 (DMDS) were detected in the CH3SH/Ar RF plasma. In the CH3SH/Ar plasma, over 83.7% of the total sulfur input was converted into CS2 at 60 W; this is due to the lack of competition between O and S and the thermodynamic stability of CS2. In the oxygen-rich conditions of the CH3SH/O2/Ar plasma, the most predominant sulfur-containing compound was SO2. As the feed O2/CH3SH ratio was increased, MSO2 was increased, while MCS2 was decreased simultaneously. MOCS was reduced by increasing either the O2/CH3SH ratio or the applied power. From the decay of CS2 and the generation of CO at a lower O2/CH3SH ratio of 0.6, CS, CS2, and CO were suggested as the primary species to react with O, OH, O2, S, or S2 and then to form OCS. This study provides useful insight into the reaction mechanisms involved in the decomposition of CH3SH and, mainly, the formation of CS2, CH4, C2H2, C2H4, SO2, MCO2, and OCS in CH3SH/Ar and CH3SH/O2/Ar plasmas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2384-2395
Number of pages12
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2001 May 30

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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