Chemistry » Metals, Metalloids, and Nonmetals » Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of Phosphorus

Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of Phosphorus

Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of Phosphorus

The industrial preparation of phosphorus is by heating calcium phosphate, obtained from phosphate rock, with sand and coke:

\({\text{2Ca}}_{3}{({\text{PO}}_{4})}_{2}(s)+{\text{6SiO}}_{2}(s)+\text{10C}(s)\;\stackrel{\phantom{\rule{0.4em}{0ex}}\text{Δ}\phantom{\rule{0.4em}{0ex}}}{\to }\;{\text{6CaSiO}}_{3}(l)+\text{10CO}(g)+{\text{P}}_{4}(g)\)

The phosphorus distills out of the furnace and is condensed into a solid or burned to form P4O10. The preparation of many other phosphorus compounds begins with P4O10. The acids and phosphates are useful as fertilizers and in the chemical industry. Other uses are in the manufacture of special alloys such as ferrophosphorus and phosphor bronze.

Phosphorus is important in making pesticides, matches, and some plastics. Phosphorus is an active nonmetal. In compounds, phosphorus usually occurs in oxidation states of 3−, 3+, and 5+. Phosphorus exhibits oxidation numbers that are unusual for a group 15 element in compounds that contain phosphorus-phosphorus bonds; examples include diphosphorus tetrahydride, H2P-PH2, and tetraphosphorus trisulfide, P4S3, illustrated in the figure below.

A ball-and-stick model is shown. Three orange atoms labeled “P” are single bonded together in a triangle shape. Each “P” is single bonded to yellow atoms labeled “S,” which are each single bonded to one other orange atom labeled “P.”

P4S3 is a component of the heads of strike-anywhere matches.

[Attributions and Licenses]


This is a lesson from the tutorial, Metals, Metalloids, and Nonmetals and you are encouraged to log in or register, so that you can track your progress.

Log In

Share Thoughts