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Org. Synth. 1946, 26, 34
DOI: 10.15227/orgsyn.026.0034
ETHYLENE THIOUREA
[2-Imidazolidinethione]
Submitted by C. F. H. Allen, C. O. Edens, and James VanAllan.
Checked by R. L. Shriner and Curtis D. Snow.
1. Procedure
In a 2-l. round-bottomed flask are placed 120 g. (1.83 moles) of 92% ethylenediamine (Note 1), 300 ml. of 95% ethanol, and 300 ml. of water. The flask is attached to an efficient reflux condenser, and 121 ml. of carbon disulfide is placed in a separatory funnel attached to the top of the condenser by means of a notched cork. About 15 to 20 ml. of the carbon disulfide is added, and the flask is shaken to mix the contents. A vigorous reaction takes place (Note 2), and it may be necessary to cool the flask. After the reaction has started, a water bath at 60° is placed under the flask and the balance of the carbon disulfide is added at such a rate that the vapors reflux about one-third the way up the condenser. About 2 hours is required for the addition of the carbon disulfide. At this time the bath temperature is raised to about 100°, and the mixture is allowed to reflux for 1 hour. Then 15 ml. of concentrated hydrochloric acid is added, and the mixture is refluxed under a good hood (bath at 100°) for 9–10 hours. The mixture is cooled in an ice bath, and the product is filtered by suction on a Büchner funnel and washed with 200–300 ml. of cold acetone (Note 3). A yield of 156–167 g. (83–89%) of white crystals is obtained melting at 197–198° (Note 4) and (Note 5).
2. Notes
1. If commercial ethylenediamine is used, it should be redistilled. The concentration of the ethylenediamine may be determined by titration with standard acid and the proper amount taken.
2. Care should be exercised to make certain that the reaction starts, before an additional quantity of carbon disulfide is added. In one experiment in which the carbon disulfide was added all at once, a very violent reaction occurred.
3. Since all the likely contaminants are readily volatile, extensive washing is unnecessary.
4. This product is pure enough for most purposes. It gives no precipitate with copper sulfate solution, indicating the absence of the open-chain acid.1.
5. It has been reported (J. VanAllan) that this procedure may also be used for the preparation of 2-thio-3,4,5,6-tetrahydropyrimidine; in this case 130 g. (150 ml., 1.76 moles) of propylenediamine is used in place of ethylenediamine. The yield is 160 g. (80%) of colorless product, m.p. 207–208°, after recrystallization from water.
3. Discussion
The only practical method for preparing alkylene thioureas is by the action of the diamines upon carbon disulfide in aqueous alcohol.1,2,3,4,5 The final heating is essential to convert the thiocarbamic acid into the cyclic compound, the addition of hydrochloric acid being beneficial. Alkylene thioureas have also been prepared by heating N-formylalkylenediamines with sulfur.6

References and Notes
  1. Ruiz and Libenson, Anales asoc. quím. argentina, 18, 37 (1930) [C. A., 24, 5726 (1930)].
  2. Hofmann, Ber., 5, 242 (1872).
  3. Johnson and Edens, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 64, 2707 (1942).
  4. Schackt, Arch. Pharm., 235, 442 (1897).
  5. Klut, Arch. Pharm., 240, 675 (1902).
  6. Zienty, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 68, 1388 (1946).

Appendix
Chemical Abstracts Nomenclature (Collective Index Number);
(Registry Number)

ethanol (64-17-5)

hydrochloric acid (7647-01-0)

copper sulfate (7758-98-7)

sulfur (7704-34-9)

acetone (67-64-1)

carbon disulfide (75-15-0)

Ethylene thiourea,
2-Imidazolidinethione (96-45-7)

ethylenediamine (107-15-3)

2-thio-3,4,5,6-tetrahydropyrimidine (2055-46-1)

propylenediamine (78-90-0)

thiocarbamic acid