Phosphorus (P)

We are a leading manufacturer and supplier of research materials

Phosphor 15P30.973

Discovered 1669 by Henning Brandt at Hamburg, Germany.

[Greek, phosphoros = bringer of light]

French: phosphore
German: Phosphor
Italian: fosforo
Spanish: fósforo

Description: White phosphourus (P4) is soft and flammable, white phosphorous is powdery and usually non-flammable. Neither form reacts with water or dilute acids, but alkalis react to form phosphine gas. Phosphorous compounds are used in fertilizers, insecticides, metal treatment, detergents, foods. etc.


Further Materials properties


Crystal structure:

(cell dimensions/pm), space group, 
α-P4 white, cubic (a=1851), I-43m
β-Pwhite, rhombohedral (a=337.7; c=880.6) R3m [high pressure form]
γ-Pwhite, cubic (a=237.7), Pm3m [high pressure form]
Red, cubic (a=1131), Pm3m or P-43
Hittorf's phosphorus (purple), monoclinic (a=921, b=915, c=2260, β=106.1°), P2/c
Black, orthorhombic (a=331.36, b=1047.8, c=437.63), Cmca

X-ray diffractions mass absorption coefficients: CuKa 74.1 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
MoKa 7.89 (µ/r) / cm2g-1
Neutron scattering length: 0.513 b/10-12 cm
Thermal neutron capture cross-section: 0.172 sa / barns
Density: 1820 (P4); 2200 (red); 2690 (black) kg/m-3 [293 K]
Melting point: 44.15°C (P4); 409.85°C (red) under pressure /317.3°K (P4); 683°K (red) under pres.
Boiling point: 279.85°C / 553°K
Molar volume: 17.02 (P4) cm3
Thermal conductivity: 0.235 (P4); 12.1 (black) [300 K] W m-1K-1
Coefficient of linear thermal expansion: 124.5 x 10-6 K-1
Electrical resistivity: 1 x 10-9 [293 K] Ωm
Mass magnetic susceptibility: -1.1 x 10-8 (P4); -8.4 x 10-9 (red) (s) kg-1m3
Radi: P3- 212; atomic 115 (red) 93 (white); covalent single bond 110; van der waals 190
Electronegativity: 2.19 (Pauling); 2.06 (Allred); 5.62 eV (absolute)
Effective nuclear charge: 4.80 (Slater); 4.89 (Clementi); 5.25 (Froese-Fischer)
Number of Isotopes (incl. nuclear isomers): 10
Isotope mass range: 26 -> 36



Biological data


Biological role: Phosphorus is a constituent of DNA, ATP and many other biochemical molecules. The phosphate cycle in nature is very important and this nutrient is often the limiting factor, e.g. in the oceans.
Toxic intake: (white P, oral, rat) = 11 µg kg-1
Lethal intake: (white P, oral, human) = 100 mg
Hazards: White phosphorous is much more toxic than red phosphorous. Chronic poisoning of those working unprotected with the former leads to necrosis of the jaw (phossy-jaw).
Level in humans
Blood: 345 mg dm-3
Bone: 67 000 - 71 000 ppm
Liver: 3 - 8.5 ppm
Muscle: 3000 - 8500 ppm
Daily dietary intake: 900 - 1900 mg 
Total mass of element in average
[70 kg] person:
780 g


Geological data


MineralFormulaDensityHardnessCrystal apperance
Apatite*  Ca5(PO4)3(F,OH) 3.2 5  hex., vit. var. colours (esp. yellow)
Phosphophyllite  Zn2(Fe,Mn)(PO4)2.4H2O 3.109 3 - 3.5  mon., vit. colourless/blue green
Turquoise  CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8.5H2O 2.84 5 - 6  tric. vit. blue/blue-green
Vivianite  Fe3(PO4)2.8H2O 2.68 1.5 - 2  mon., vit./ earthy deep blue

* The fluoride form is also known as fluoroapatite.

Chief ores: aoatite/ fluoroapatite, of which there are vast deposits; turquoise (ornamental stone)
World production: 153 x 106 tonnes/year
Producing areas: Russia, USA, Morocco, Tunisia, Togu, Nauru
Reserves: 5.7 x 109 tonnes
Specimen: available as white phosphorous sticks (Danger!) and red phosphorous lumps or powder (Care!)


Sun: 3.16 x 105 (relative to H = 1 x 1012)
Earth's crust: 1000 ppm
Atlantic surface: 0.0015 ppm
Atlantic deep: 0.042  ppm
Pacific surface: 0.0015  ppm
Pacific deep: 0.084  ppm
Residence time: 100 000 years
Classification: recycled
Oxidation state: V

  Source: Emsley, J. (1998) The Elements (3rd Edition)

Other sizes and specifications on request

Overview of elements with access to our shop

1 18
2 13 14 15 16 17
Li Be B C
Na Mg 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Al Si P S
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo
Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi
Ce Pr Nd
Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

Get our latest news and special sales
You may unsubscribe at any moment. For that purpose, please find our contact info in the legal notice.
Tel.: +49 (0) 2461 - 9352 - 0
Fax: +49 (0) 2461 - 9352 - 11