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Science Innovation Centre · 015 · Phosphorus

This element is no longer available.

Phosphorous is a multivalent non-metal of the nitrogen group. It is found in nature in several allotropic forms, and is an essential element for the life of organisms.

There are several forms of phosphorous, called white, red and black phosphorous, although the colours are more likely to be slightly different. White phosphorous is the one manufactured industrial; it glows in the dark, is spontaneously flammable when exposed to air and is deadly poison. Red phosphorous can vary in colour from orange to purple, due to slight variations in its chemical structure. The third form, black phosphorous, is made under high pressure, looks like graphite and, like graphite, has the ability to conduct electricity.

Concentrated phosphoric acids are used in fertilizers for agriculture and farm production. Phosphates are used for special glasses, sodium lamps, in steel production, in military applications (incendiary bombs, smoke screenings etc.), and in other applications as: pyrotechnics, pesticides, toothpaste, detergents.