10 Uses of White and Red Phosphorus in Daily Life

It doesn’t matter how much you memorize what are in the periodic table. Even if you memorize all the atomic and mass number so well, if you don’t really understand what they’re. Then it’s too bad. Okay, it’s important to memorize them of course. But there’s something you need to do beside memorizing.

You should try to get to know them. Just like how you need to interact with someone more than once to know their personalities, so does how you need to make a move on these chemical elements. Try to understand their unique characteristic, uses, precautions.

Once you know an element until their very details, you’ll be able to magnify the benefits you can get by studying chemistry. This time, we’re going to make a move on this element from group VA of the periodic table. Phosphorus. You’ll soon understand what’s the properties, types of phosphorus, and of course, their uses in our daily life.

What is Phosphorus?

Phosphorus is a chemical element with atomic number 15 and symbol P. Located in period 3 group VA, this element is part of other nonmetal element, along with Carbon and other elements. Phosphorus has two most common allotropes which are, white phosphorus and red phosphorus. They have few differences, but they both are phosphorus. Thus, there are many uses of white and red phosphorus.

White and Red Phosphorus

White phosphorus is tetraphosphorus, a chemical element which contain of 4 phosphorus atoms. This chemical substance is flammable and highly toxic, small amount of white phosphorus could cause severe damage to our body, such as liver damages, inflammatory, respiratory problems, even death.

Red phosphorus is made out from heated white phosphorus to 572˚F with no air. It is harmless compared to white phosphorus which highly toxic. Red phosphorus is way more stable than white phosphorus.

White and Red Phosphorus Uses

Now that you have already know their properties, basic characteristic, you need to know something that’s just as important as that. Yeah, knowing their uses in your everyday life. These two phosphorus allotropes have lots of uses that can be useful for research and in our daily life without you knowing.

So here are some advantages that we can get from white and red phosphorus :

  1. Matches

Here are the uses of white and red phosphorus. Red phosphorus mostly used to make a safety match or strike-anywhere match. The difference between safety match and strike-anywhere match is the surface to lit it up. Strike-anywhere match uses friction heat, while safety match need a special surface called sulfur.

  1. Fertilizers

When we buy fertilizers, phosphorus will always in the main ingredients, because phosphorus is great for plant’s growth. Although phosphorus is good for plant’s growth, too much phosphorus in soil could also harm the plants. Make sure you use sufficient amount of phosphorus for your plants to get the maximum benefits from it.

Using too much of everything will never give you anything good. There’s a dosage and limitation that you need to pay attention to. You might want to read :Harmful Effects Of Using Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides

  1. Bomb

In World War I, Phosphorus bomb are widely used. It’s okay to use on war, but banned if it is used on human district. This bomb could be very active when contact with oxygen. This bomb explosion has pretty colorful light, but it is highly dangerous, because it’s smoke could cause severe burn-damage from skin straight to the bones.

  1. Fireworks

Phosphorus can burn spontaneously when contact with oxygen. It produces bright light. Besides that, phosphorus is the fuel to fireworks, without phosphorus, fireworks won’t works. Thanks to this element, that you’re able to propose to your love with fantastic firework show that make her flutters.

You might want to read : Fireworks Elements

  1. Lamp

In every housing, lamp is one of the most crucial things. Without lamps we will hardly do anything, our house gets dark and scary. You wouldn’t even be able to finish your works that’s due the following day. No matter how you hate finishing homework at night, you’d hate it more if you don’t have lamp to support your work. In this case, phosphorus gases coated the inside lamp which makes our lamps produce a light and fill out the room.

  1. Grenades

White phosphorus aka Willie Pete are used in incendiary grenade. It has the same effect as phosphorus bomb, it burns right after it contacts with oxygen, cause the worst severe burn-damage.

  1. Rockets

White Phosphorus usually used as weapons, ammunition, and such. So do rockets, rocket’s fuels are made of white phosphorus. 

  1. Glow Stick

Maybe most of us know glow stick, the one which commonly used in music concert, diving, etc. Glow stick can glow because inside it contains of 2 chemical, fluorescent dye and hydrogen peroxide which when contact they’ll produce glows. Fluorescent dye is material called phosphorus, it absorbs ultraviolet and produce visible light. Not just the lamp, fireworks, this element can also light you up by showing up from a glow stick.

  1. Toothpaste

If phosphorus can light your room up, there’s no way that it can’t ‘light’ your teeth up. Do you know toothpaste? Well, it’s a part of our daily life, it’s supposed to be. It is important to keep our teeth fresh and clean. It has several chemical ingredients to produce a great toothpaste. There are some toothpaste which contain of white phosphorus as a ingredient.

  1. Detergent

In detergent contains some major parts, there are surfactant, builder, filler and addictive. Phosphorus is needed in making detergent, but in phosphate (PO43-) form. Phosphate play role as builder. Builder are used to increase efficiency in making clothes cleaner.

That’s just some of the uses of white and red phosphorus in daily life. It’s so close to your everyday life, right? Well, perhaps from now on you’ll end up thinking about phosphorus every time you saw matches. But, that’s good, you’re emphasizing the benefits from learning chemistry all this time.

It’s not impossible that you might even find a new way to develop this element in a better way for good, of course. You’ve also succeed in making chemistry learning fun and more relatable to our lives. Have fun learning chemistry, explore the whole things that will surprise you in a way you might haven’t ever think of.

You might want to read : Uses of Sodium Hyphophosphite in Daily Life