- Phosphorus was discovered by Hennig Brand at 1669 in Germany. Origin of name:
from the Greek word "phosphoros" meaning "bringer of light".
His recipe was:
Boil urine to reduce it to a thick syrup.
Heat until a red oil distills up from it, and draw that off.
Allow the remainder to cool, where it consists of a black spongy upper part and a
salty lower part.
Discard the salt, mix the red oil back into the black material.
Heat that mixture strongly for 16 hours.
First white fumes come off, then an oil, then phosphorus.
The phosphorus may be passed into cold water to solidify.
- Brand kept his process a secret, phosphorus was discovered independently in 1680
by an English chemist, Robert Boyle.
• Atomic Number: 15
• Atomic Weight: 30.973762
• Melting Point: 317.30 K (44.15°C or 111.47°F)
• Boiling Point: 553.65 K (280.5°C or 536.9°F)
• Density: 1.82 grams per cubic centimeter
• Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
• Element Classification: Non-metal
• Period Number: 3
• Group Number: 15
• Group Name: Pnictogen
- A multivalent pnictogen, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its
maximally oxidised state, as inorganic phosphate rocks. Elemental phosphorus
exists in two major forms—white phosphorus and red phosphorus—but due to its
high reactivity, phosphorus is never found as a free element on Earth.
- White Phosphorus is used in some explosives, including rockets. This caused an
uproar because of safety concerns.
- Red Phosphorus is used in match heads. You can see the texture of a match head
next to the matches.
- Fertilizer; Phosphorus is known for being essential to DNA and to a lesser extent
- It is an essential nutrient for plants and animals.
- It is a part of DNA-molecules and RNA-molecules, molecules that store energy (ATP
- It is also a building block of certain parts of the human and animal body, such as the
bones and teeth.
- Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plants and animals.
- Limiting nutrient for aquatic organisms.
- Forms parts of important life-sustaining molecules that are
very common in the biosphere
- The primary biological importance of phosphates is as a component of nucleotides,
which serve as energy storage within cells (ATP) or when linked together, form the
nucleic acids DNA and RNA
- The biogeochemical cycle that describes the movement of phosphorus through
the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Unlike many other biogeochemical cycles,
the atmosphere does not play a significant role in the movement of phosphorus, because
phosphorus and phosphorus-based compounds are usually solids at the typical ranges of
temperature and pressure found on Earth.
1. When rocks high in phosphorus are exposed to water, the rock weathers out and goes
2. autotrophs absorb this phosphorus and use it in many different ways,
3. then the plant is eaten by a heterotroph and obtains phosphorus from the plant
4. then the phosphate leaves the body, and decomposers move the phosphorus into the soil
or water then another plant will absorb this phosphorus.