Key Concepts and Summary
Phosphorus (group 15) commonly exhibits oxidation states of 3− with active metals and of 3+ and 5+ with more electronegative nonmetals. The halogens and oxygen will oxidize phosphorus. The oxides are phosphorus(V) oxide, P4O10, and phosphorus(III) oxide, P4O6. The two common methods for preparing orthophosphoric acid, H3PO4, are either the reaction of a phosphate with sulfuric acid or the reaction of water with phosphorus(V) oxide. Orthophosphoric acid is a triprotic acid that forms three types of salts.