The term is derived from the Greek word xanthos, for yellow. The most important group of xanthates are the sodium salts produced from cellulose.
These materials are processed to form rayon and cellophane. Some xanthates are used as flotation agents for the concentration of certain metal ores. Human and environmental health risks depend on the chemical xanthate in question.
Xanthates are the salts and esters of a xanthic acid, ROC(=S)SH or O-esters of dithiocarbonic acid where R is any organic residue. The ethyl ester CH3CH2OC(=S)SH is also the parent compound xanthic acid. Many xanthates have a yellow colour, which gives the compound its name derived from xanthous, meaning yellow. IUPAC does not recommend the use of this term.
Xanthates can be produced from carbon disulfide, and are used as flotation agents in mineral processing. They are intermediates in the Chugaev elimination. Xanthates are also used to control radical polymerisation under the RAFT process , also termed MADIX.
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Cellophane (Cellophane is a thin, flexible, transparent film ...)