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June 24 2011 6 24 /06 /June /2011 12:51

I have compiled a list of sources for the elements that are available to the amateur chemist. Phosphorus will be discussed here.


Phosphorus comes in several allotropes. One is a white, waxy, pryophoric, highly toxic substance. Another is a crumbly, red, flammable substance. Another is a hard, violet, crystalline substance. The first two are most common. White phosphorus (as the white allotrope is called) is used in smoke bombs and incendiary devices. Red phosphorus is used in pyrotechnics and matches. Phosphates are used in toothpastes, baking powder, and cleaners, to name a few.


In element form: Armstrong's mixture, found in noisy toy guns that do not shoot anything, is a mixture of red phosphorus and potassium chlorate. Red phosphorus is also found in the striker portion of safety matches. Phosphor bronze has about 1% phosphorus in it.


In compound form: Baking powder has phosphates in it. Some rodent poisons use phosphides. Phosphoric acid is found in soft drinks. Phosphorus sulfide is found in the heads of strike-anywhere matches.


Here is my sample of phosphorus.  It is scraped from a matchbox striker. Because it was an old matchbox, there appears to be much more phosphorus on it.



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Published by LanthanumK - in Elements
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