1. Formula

Xanthates are formed by the combination of alcohol, alkali, and carbon disulphide. The general formula for xanthates can be represented as  ROCS2M+, where the R is an alkyl and the M+ is a metal-thioate of either Na+ or K+. Each of the xanthates have a slightly variable formula depending on the metal present.

Sodium ethyl xanthates has the chemical formula CH3CH2OCS2Na. Potassium ethyl xanthate is chemically represented as CH3CH2OCS2K. Sodium Isopropyl xanthate has its chemical formula as (CH3)2CHOCS2Na. Sodium isobutyl xanthate is represented as (CH3)2CHCH2OCS2Na. Potassium amyl xanthate has the chemical formula CH3(CH2)4OCS2K. 

2. Base or Acid?

Xanthates are generally known as organic salts. However, certain xanthates such as Sodium ethyl xanthate and potassium ethyl xanthate can show some certain properties of base like having a pH scale greater than 7.0.

3. Chemical Structure

Xanthates are salts formed by a process called xanthation. It is the process whereby alcohol and alkali are treated with carbon disulphide. There are situations where an alkoxide is treated with either Potassium hydroxide or Sodium hydroxide to yield xanthates. The chemical process can be expressed as follows:

ROH + CS2 + KOH → ROCS2K + H2O

One of the chemical properties of xanthates is that they can dissolve in acid to yield xanthic acid. Also, when xanthic anions pass through alkylation, they yield xanthate esters. Xanthates also can be oxidized to produce dixanthogens.

4. Physical Structure

Xanthates are mainly yellow or golden in color. The name itself is a derivation of a Greek word 'Xanthos' which means yellowish or golden. They have an odd odor due to the presence of sulfur. Xanthates mostly appear as granular except they are grinded into powder form.

5. Types Of Xanthates

There are different types of xanthates. Meanwhile, there are prominent 5 which are used as collectors in the mining industry. Each of them is explained below:

  • Sodium Ethyl Xanthate

Sodium ethyl xanthates otherwise known as SEX is the strongest collector among xanthates. It can form insoluble compounds with metallic ions such as Cobalt, Copper, and Nickel. In the case of floating complex sulfide, Sodium ethyl xanthate is majorly used due to its activeness.

  • Potassium Amyl Xanthate

Potassium amyl xanthate is also known as PAX and also a God floatation chemical in mining. It is a non-selective collector used for floating copper minerals, copper lead, and copper nickel. It can also be employed to collect oxide minerals such as copper, lead ore, and oxidized sulfur.

  • Sodium Isopropyl Xanthate

Sodium isopropyl xanthate also called SIPX has similarities of SEX. It is also a good collector for collecting metal sulfides. It is used for collecting major metals such as copper, zinc, lead, and molybdenum. They are also employed in collecting golds and pyrites.

  • Sodium Butyl Xanthate

Sodium Butyl Xanthate also known as SBX is used in the floatation process of pyrite, sphalerite, and chalcopyrite. It is also effective for floating other metals such as zinc, copper, lead, and most metal copper sulfide.

  • Sodium Isobutyl Xanthate

Sodium Isobutyl Xanthate also known as SIBX is a highly effective floating agent for non-ferrous metal sulfides. It is best used for collecting lead ores, copper ores, and zinc ores. It is used as a hydro metallurgical precipitate and for rubber vulcanization.

6. Uses In The Mining Industry

The largest application of xanthates is done in the mining industry. They are used as a floating agent and for the extraction process. The following are application of xanthates in the mining industry:

  • Through the process of sulfide flotation, xanthates are used for extracting different ores materials.
  • Xanthates are used for extracting golds. The Xanthate collector's anodic oxidization process is the most used method for extracting golds in mining.
  • They are useful for making metal ores hydrophobic which makes them float in water for easy extraction.

7. How Can You Buy Xanthates?

All kinds of xanthates, especially, Sodium ethyl xanthates, Potassium Amyl Xanthate, Sodium isopropyl Xanthate, Sodium isobutyl xanthate, and Sodium Butyl Xanthate are available for sale at Camachem. The company ships chemicals of all kinds to clients across different countries in the world. You can get quotations for your desired quantity of chemicals and make orders online on the website.