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PHOSPHORUS Introduction The element that is featured in this report is phosphorus Phosphorus is a chemical element that human beings animals and plants need for normal growth The main use of phosphorus is fertilizer It was difficult to find a lot of different information on this element Description Phosphorus is a nonmetallic chemical element that can exist in several different forms The chemical symbol for phosphorus is P its atomic number is 15 and its atomic weight is 30975 Phosphorus was first prepared by the German alchemist Hennig Brandt in 1669 in the course of his search for the philosophers stone he obtained from a residue of evaporated urine a white solid that glowed in the dark and ignited spontaneously in the air The name phosphorus is Greek for light-bringing The name at that time was used for any substance that glows of itself and was eventually given to this element Phosphorus does not occur in elemental form in nature it is found most commonly in apatite minerals such as fluorapatite Their are at least ten forms of the element that are known occurring within red white and black phosphorus categories or as mixtures of them White phosphorus consists of molecular P4 and can exist in an alpha form which is stable at room temperature and a beta form stable below -78 deg C White phosphorus is a waxlike substance very toxic and extremely flammable When it is exposed to air in the dark it emits a greenish light and gives off white fumes It can ignite spontaneously Red phosphorus is a more stable form than white Red phosphorus is a brownish-red powder and it can be obtained by heating white phosphorus to 250 deg C in a closed vessel or exposing white phosphorus to sunlight Red phosphorus is often considered a mixture of white and black phosphorus It neither phosphoresces nor spontaneously burns in air Red phosphorus should be handled carefully
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