Dimethyl sulfate is a chemical compound with formula (CH3O)2SO2. As the diester of methanol and sulfuric acid, its formula is often written as (CH3)2SO4 or even Me2SO4, where CH3 or Me is methyl. Me2SO4 is mainly used as a methylating agent in organic synthesis.
Dimethyl Sulfate is an odorless, corrosive, oily liquid with an onion-like odor that emits toxic fumes upon heating. Dimethyl sulfate is used in industry as a methylating agent in the manufacture of many organic chemicals. Inhalation exposure to its vapors is highly irritating to the eyes and lungs and may cause damage to the liver, kidney, heart and central nervous system, while dermal contact causes severe blistering. It is a possible mutagen and is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.
Dimethyl sulfate hydrolyzes slowly in cold water but rapidly in warm water and acidic solutions. The hydrolysis occurs stepwise, initially forming methyl sulfuric acid, then sulfuric acid and methanol. It can be calculated that DMS hydrolyzes to methyl sulfuric acid with 99.9% completion as follows:
Dimethyl sulfate is used as chemical intermediate, hence the global dimethyl sulfate market is anticipated to experience strong growth over the foreseeable future, owing to its numerous applications in different chemicals. Furthermore, the fabric softeners market is expected to experience strong growth during the forecast period, which would boost the demand for dimethyl sulfate, as the latter is used to manufacture fabric softeners.