Phosphorus
The element that is featured in this report is phosphorus. Phosphorus is a
chemical element that human beings, animals, and plants need for normal growth.

The main use of phosphorus is fertilizer. It was difficult to find a lot of
different information on this element. Description Phosphorus is a nonmetallic
chemical element that can exist in several different forms. The chemical symbol
for phosphorus is P, its atomic number is 15, and its atomic weight is 30.975.

Phosphorus was first prepared by the German alchemist Hennig Brandt in 1669; in
the course of his search for the philosopher’s stone he obtained from a
residue of evaporated urine a white solid that glowed in the dark and ignited
spontaneously in the air. The name phosphorus is Greek for "light-bringing".

The name at that time was used for any substance that glows of itself, and was
eventually given to this element. Phosphorus does not occur in elemental form in
nature; it is found most commonly in apatite minerals such as fluorapatite.

Their are at least ten forms of the element that are known, occurring within
red, white, and black phosphorus categories or as mixtures of them. White
phosphorus consists of molecular P(4) and can exist in an alpha form, which is
stable at room temperature, and a beta form, stable below -78 deg C. White
phosphorus is a waxlike substance, very toxic and extremely flammable. When it
is exposed to air in the dark, it emits a greenish light and gives off white
fumes. It can ignite spontaneously. Red phosphorus is a more stable form than
white. Red phosphorus is a brownish-red powder and it can be obtained by heating
white phosphorus to 250 deg C in a closed vessel or exposing white phosphorus to
sunlight Red phosphorus is often considered a mixture of white and black
phosphorus. It neither phosphoresces nor spontaneously burns in air. Red
phosphorus should be handled carefully at certain temperatures because it can
change to white phosphorus. Upon heating to temperatures near 300 deg C for
several days, red phosphorus is converted to black phosphorus. Black phosphorus
is a much less common form. It is flaky, like graphite, and has some metallic
properties. It is the least reactive of the forms of phosphorus. Physical

Properties Some of the physical properties of phosphorus are its various colors
as listed above. The most common colors are white, red, and black. In the white
form it is a waxlike substance. In the red form of phosphorus it is a
brownish-red powder and the black form resembles the mineral granite and is
flaky. Chemical Properties A chemical property found in phosphorus is its
flammability. Also, it glows in the dark when exposed to air. Phosphorus can
change forms by the changing of temperature. Phosphorus is also very toxic. The
chemical properties change depending on what form of phosphorus is used. Uses of
the Element Phosphorus is used for many different things. White phosphorus is
used in incendiary and napalm bombs. It is used in the explosive part of the
bombs. Phosphorus is one of the most important substances for life along with
water, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur. The principal components of organic
matter are carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur are
important because they interact with the carbon-hydrogen-oxygen matrix. These
substances are components of natural cycles that have geological as well as
biological components. Another use for phosphorus is the match. The first
friction matches were tipped with mixtures that included the incendiary chemical
white phosphorus. They were produced in the 1830s. They would ignite when struck
against almost any rough surface. For workers in match factories, however, the
white phosphorus proved a deadly poison; the incidence of "phossy
jaw," a bone malady caused by the chemical, was among the earliest of
recognized occupational diseases. The safety match, developed in 1855, could be
ignited only by striking it on a surface containing red phosphorus. Phosphorus
remained a hazard in "strike anywhere" matches, however, until the
development in 1911 of phosphorus sesquisulfide, a nonpoisonous chemical. The
blast furnace iron also contains a small but significant amount of phosphorus.

In the steel making process most of the phosphorus must be reduced. The
phosphorus level is very high in milk, meats, many vegetables, and fruits such
as bananas. It is very important for the human body to receive a certain amount
of phosphorus because it is essential to the building of bone. Another function
of phosphorus in the human body is that it is needed in intermediary metabolism.

10 Compounds of the Phosphorus 1. Phosphate Nearly all the phosphorus used is in
the form of