Uses for Phosphorus

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The chemical element phosphorus has many uses and applications in everyday life. According to Nautilus, these applications include fireworks, luminous projectiles and matches. Phosphorus is also extensively used in industry for the production of metal alloys and as an additive to industrial oils. Its most popular application is in the fertilizer industry, which absorbs almost all extracted phosphates found in rocks.

Phosphorus has many uses and applications.
Phosphorus has many uses and applications.

The Facts

According to Web Elements, phosphorus is found in nervous tissue, cell protoplasm and bone and is vital to all living organisms. Its atomic number is 15 and its atomic weight is 30.97376. Phosphorus is soluble in carbon disulphide but not soluble in water. According to Periodic, phosphorus has a melting point of 44.15 degrees Celsius and a boiling point of 280.5 degrees Celsius.

Phosphorus is not soluble in water.
Phosphorus is not soluble in water.

Features

According to Web Elements, phosphorus is found in white, yellow, black and violet forms. Ordinary phosphorus is a waxy white solid and colorless and transparent in its pure form. Phosphorus is red when it is exposed to sunlight. While there are many phosphate ores, phosphorus was originally extracted from urine.

According to Periodic, phosphorus is never freely found in nature but is distributed widely in combination with other minerals. An important source of the element is phosphate rock, which contains the mineral apatite (an impure tri-calcium phosphate).

Phosphorus was originally extracted from urine.
Phosphorus was originally extracted from urine.

History

According to Nautilus, phosphorus was discovered in 1669 by Henning Brand, a German merchant. Brand distilled urine and obtained phosphorus in its basic state. Its name comes from Greek, meaning "it possesses brilliance" because of its unique property to shine in the dark. Later, other scientists discovered that phosphorus is an important component of bones, resulting in the first commercial method of phosphorus production. In this process, a reaction of nitric or sulfuric acid and bone produced phosphoric acid that, when heated, produced elementary phosphorus.

Phosphorus is an important component of bones.
Phosphorus is an important component of bones.

Uses

According to Periodic, phosphorus has many applications to the agriculture and farm industries. In particular, phosphorus is used extensively in fertilizers as concentrated phosphoric acid. Phosphorus is used in the production of special glasses (sodium lamps), as a cleaning agent( trisodium phosphate), and as a water softener (for the prevention of pipe and boiler tube corrosion on boilers). Phosphorus is also used in the production of phosphor bronze and steel.

Phosphorus has many applications to the agriculture and farming industries.
Phosphorus has many applications to the agriculture and farming industries.

Warning

According to Periodic, phosphorus needs to be handled with extreme care. It is extremely poisonous and exposure to white phosphorus should not exceed 0.1mg/m^3. White phosphorus is also extremely reactive and, as a result, needs to be kept under water. Periodic also recommended that phosphorous should be handled with forceps due to the fact that it may cause severe burns upon skin contact.

Phosphorus should be handled with forceps and extreme care due to the fact that it may cause burns upon skin contact.
Phosphorus should be handled with forceps and extreme care due to the fact that it may cause burns upon skin contact.

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