All about White Phosphorus | Element Series | Summary and Q&A

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October 16, 2015
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NileRed
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All about White Phosphorus | Element Series

TL;DR

White phosphorus is a dangerous element that exists in different forms, with the white allotrope being the most toxic and prone to spontaneous ignition.

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Key Insights

  • 🤍 White phosphorus exists in different allotropes, but the white form is the most toxic and prone to spontaneous ignition.
  • 🥺 Exposure to white phosphorus can lead to phossy jaw, necrosis, and accumulation in the body.
  • ❤️‍🔥 White phosphorus is controversially used as an incendiary weapon due to its ability to cause fires.
  • 💁 Phosphorus pentoxide, formed when white phosphorus reacts with oxygen, is dangerous and can form phosphoric acid when in contact with water.
  • 🤍 White phosphorus is difficult to extinguish once ignited and can continue to burn even when covered.
  • 🤍 The burning of white phosphorus produces smoke, making it useful for creating smoke screens.
  • ❤️‍🔥 White phosphorus can cause splashing when sprayed with water, potentially spreading the fire.
  • 🤍 When ignited, white phosphorus can cause damage to organic material, but the extent varies.

Transcript

Phosphorus can exist in several different forms which are known as allotropes Unlike other elements, phosphorus doesn't like to exist as free atoms, so it makes different structures and depending on which structures it makes with itself, you get the different types of phosphorus The photos I have for the structures of phosphorus, are the greatest, ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are the different forms of phosphorus?

Phosphorus exists in various allotropes, with white, red, violet, and black being the most common, but white phosphorus is the most dangerous.

Q: Why is white phosphorus toxic?

White phosphorus is toxic because it accumulates in the body, particularly in the jaw, causing phossy jaw, necrosis, and other tissue damage.

Q: What makes white phosphorus dangerous as an incendiary weapon?

White phosphorus can spontaneously ignite at low temperatures and is difficult to extinguish, making it a highly effective weapon for causing fires.

Q: What happens when white phosphorus reacts with oxygen?

When white phosphorus reacts with oxygen in the air, it forms phosphorus pentoxide, a dangerous compound that can further react with water to form phosphoric acid.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • White phosphorus is one of the allotropes of phosphorus and is highly dangerous, unlike other forms.

  • Exposure to white phosphorus can lead to phossy jaw, necrosis, and accumulation in the body.

  • It is commonly used as an incendiary weapon and is difficult to extinguish once ignited.

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