Tungsten hexacarbonyl

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Template:Chembox ECNumberTemplate:Chembox E numberTemplate:Chembox SolubilityInWater
Tungsten hexacarbonyl
IUPAC name Tungsten hexacarbonyl
Other names Hexacarbonyltungsten, Tungsten carbonyl
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Molar mass 351.90 g/mol
Appearance Colorless solid
Density 2.65 g/cm3, solid
Melting point
Boiling point
Solubility Sparingly in THF
Main hazards Flammable (F), CO source
S-phrases S22 S24/25
Related compounds
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state
(at 25 °C, 100 kPa)

Infobox disclaimer and references

Tungsten hexacarbonyl (also called tungsten carbonyl) is the chemical compound with the formula W(CO)6. This complex gave rise to the first example of a dihydrogen complex.[1]

This colorless compound, like its chromum and molybdenum analogues, is noteworthy as a volatile, air-stable derivative of tungsten in its zero oxidation state.

Preparation, properties, and structure

W(CO)6 is prepared by the reduction of WCl6 under a pressure of carbon monoxide. It would be rare to prepare this inexpensive compound in the laboratory because the apparatus is expensive and the compound can be purchased cheaply. The compound is relatively air-stable. It is sparingly soluble in nonpolar organic solvents.

W(CO)6 adopts an octahedral geometry consisting of six rod-like CO ligands radiating from the central W atom with dipole moment 0 D.


All reactions of W(CO)6 commence with displacement of some CO ligands in W(CO)6. W(CO)6 behaves similarly to the Mo(CO)6 but tends to form compounds that are kinetically more robust.

A most famous derivative is the dihydrogen complex W(CO)3[P(C6H11)3]2(H2) reported in 1982 by Kubas.[1]

Three of these CO ligands can be displaced by acetonitrile.[2] W(CO)6 has been used to desulfurize organosulfur compounds and as a precursor to catalysts for alkene metathesis.

Safety and handling

Like all metal carbonyls, W(CO)6 is dangerous source of volatile metal as well as CO.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kubas, G. J., Metal Dihydrogen and σ-Bond Complexes, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers: New York, 2001.
  2. Kubas, G. J. and van der Sluys, L. S., "TricarbonylTris(nitrile) Complexes of Cr, Mo, and W", Inorganic Syntheses, 1990, 28, 29-33.