Most people find chemistry jokes funny... I find the prePHOSPHORUS! Sofia Jiang - Siegel 8A

Phosphorus is an element with symbol P, and an atomic number of 15. It was discovered by Hennig Brand at Hamburg in 1669; when Brand boiled and filtered 50 buckets of urine until there was a leftover residue of white, waxy material. He then heated it with sand thereby distilling phosphorus from the mixture. Brand named the white, waxy material he found phosphorus, (“light bearer”), because it glowed in the dark. (
  • Atomic number: 15
  • Atomic mass: 30.97696
  • Number of protons: 15
  • Number of neutrons: 16
  • Number of electrons: 15
  • Different stable isotopes: Phosphorus has one stable isotope: P-31

Phosphorus is a very widely distributed element. It is 12th most abundant in the Earth’s crust. The cosmic abundance of phosphorus is estimated to be 1 atom out of every 100 atoms of silicon. (

Phosphorus has three main forms, white, black and red. White phosphorus can spontaneously burst into flames when it comes in contact with air. Red phosphorus is created when white phosphorus is heated to 250ºC or by exposing white phosphorus to sunlight. Red phosphorus is not as dangerous as white phosphorus. Black phosphorus is also formed when white phosphorus is heated but a mercury catalyst (an odorless solid that forms white granules or crystalline powder) and a seed crystal of black phosphorus are required. Black phosphorus is the least reactive out of the three different allotropes. It does not have a significant commercial use (

White phosphorus is used to make chemicals used in fertilizers, food, and cleaning agents. It can be used in pesticide and in fireworks. It is used by the military in different types of ammunition (since it spontaneously catches on fire) and as a smoke agent (because it produces clouds of white smoke).

Red phosphorus is most commonly found on matches or on the side of match boxes. Some matchboxes use a coating of red phosphorous on sandpaper in order to light a match. It can also be found in numerous other flare products such as flare signals. Red phosphorus can also be used both legally and illegally to create methamphetamine (meth), when the preferred ingredient, anhydrous ammonia is not available. (

Scientific Fact About Phosphorus: Phosphorus is very important to the health of plants and animals; phosphorus is critical to the development of bones and teeth. The daily recommended amount of phosphorus for humans is one gram. It is fairly easy to get that much phosphorus every day through meat, milk, beans, and grains. (

Fun Fact About Phosphorus: Phosphorus makes up around 12% of all commercial fertilizer. Phosphorus-based fertilizer has allowed us to feed a global population that has tripled since WW2 and will increase 33% by 2050. (

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