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The Chemistry oh Phosphorous

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The Chemistry of Phosphorus Among the non-metals, on the right hand side of the periodic table, with Atomic Number 15, is the element Phosphorus. The word 'phosphorus' is derived from the Greek word 'phosphoros' meaning 'bringer of light' and its discovery was completely accidental. It has the electronic configuration 2,8,5 and has 5 electrons in its outer most shell, hence it being in group 5 of the periodic table, under Nitrogen. In 1669, German alchemist Hennig Brand was attempting to create the 'philosopher's stone', which was a supposedly magical substance that would turn metals into gold, by evaporating urine. One day, after boiling urine into a paste, heating the paste to a high temperature and passing the vapours through water, where he hoped to find gold, was a mysterious white waxy substance that seemed to glow in the dark, and burst into flames when in contact with air. Brand had discovered phosphorus, well was the first to record this discovery. In fact, several other chemists could have discovered it at a similar time, and we now know that the substance he found was actually ammonium sodium hydrogen phosphate: (NH4)NaHPO41. This method produced only about 60g of phosphorus and used 1100L of urine, so was not very efficient, and it was only later on that investigators found alternative methods of obtaining it. ...read more.


Commercially, black phosphorus is not commonly used, however one of its very few uses is in the coating of screws. It is used to coat screws because it is very un-reactive under normal conditions, so it protects from corrosion. The abundance of phosphorus in the Earth's crust is 0.12%, making it the 11th most common element8. Its most common occurrence in nature is as a phosphate, which is a compound that contains phosphorus, oxygen, and one other element, for example: Calcium Phosphate Ca3(PO4). Normally, phosphate consists of 1 phosphorus atom, in the centre of 4 oxygen atoms. Phosphorus itself does not occur naturally in the environment. The most common source of phosphorus is from extraction from phosphate rock: phosphorite, which contains the mineral apatite, an impure tri-calcium phosphate. 86% of the world's phosphate rock source comes from North Carolina, Florida9. In order to extract phosphorus from phosphate rock, it is placed in an electric furnace which also contains sand, and coke (pure carbon) and heated up to 1400�c. Several reactions take place during this process, resulting with the product phosphorus. The coke is used as a reducing agent, whilst the sand is used to react with the calcium phosphate. ...read more.


Animals then eat the plants, and use phosphorus in their bones, DNA, and ATP; they then deposit phosphorus back into the soil through excretion or decay. The atmosphere plays little role in the phosphorus cycle unlike most other biogeochemical cycles, because phosphorus and its compounds are usually solid at standard temperatures found in the atmosphere. To conclude, I have found that the chemistry of phosphorus has proven to be both interesting and informative. Without this element, life on Earth would not be possible. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphorus 2 http://www.webelements.com/phosphorus/ 3 "Pyrotechnics, Explosives, & Fireworks". http://www.faqs.org/docs/air/ttpyro.html. Retrieved December 4, 2005. 4 Marie-Th�r�se Averbuch-Pouchot, A. Durif. Topics in Phosphate Chemistry. World Scientific, 1996 5 http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/P/phosphorus.html 6 http://www.speclab.com/elements/phosphorus.htm - Ft. Lauderdale, FL & Savannah, GA U.S.A. 7 Steve Charnovitz, "The Influence of International Labour Standards on the World Trading Regime. A Historical Overview," International Labour Review, Vol. 126, No. 5, September-October 1987, pp. 565, 571. The treaty was dated September 26, 1906. 8 "Elements, Terrestrial Abundance". www.daviddarling.info. Retrieved 2007-04-1 9 http://www.chemistryexplained.com/elements/L-P/Phosphorus.html - JRank 10 http://geology.about.com/od/nutshells/a/phosnuts.htm 11 http://www.100people.org/statistics_100stats.php?section=statistics 12 http://www.answers.com/topic/superphosphate 13 http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/phosphorus-000319.htm - 2009 University of Maryland Medical Centre (UMMC). 14 http://www.rsc.org/chemsoc/visualelements/pages/phosphorus.html -The Royal Society of Chemistry 1999-2005 15 Brined cheeses, The Society of Dairy Technology (SDT) edited By A. Y. Tamime, Wiley-Blackwell, 2006 ISBN 1405124601, 9781405124607 16 http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/atp/atp1.htm - University of Bristol 17 http://www.enviroliteracy.org/article.php/480.html - Miller, G. Tyler Jr., Environmental Science. Brooks/Cole Thomson Learning: 2001. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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