Phosphorus --Shiane phillips--

What is Phosphorus?

Phosphorus is a solid chemical element with symbol P and atomic number 15. As an element, phosphorus exists in two major forms—white phosphorus and red phosphorus—but because it is highly reactive, phosphorus is never found as a free element on Earth.


The atomic number of Phosphorus is 15, while the atomic mass is 31. It has 15 protons, 15 electrons, and 16 neutrons.

Phosphorus is a solid, non-metal element that was discovered by Hennig Brand in 1669 in Germany.

This is an example of red phosphorus.


Phosphorus is a vital plant nutrient and its main use is in the production of fertilizers. Just as there are biological carbon and nitrogen cycles, there is also a phosphorus cycle. Phosphorus is used in the manufacture of safety matches and incendiary shells.

Red phosphorus on the end of a match.

Interesting facts:

  1. It was discovered by extracting from buckets of urine.
  2. It is sometimes referred to as the "Devil's Element," because it was the thirteenth element discovered and because of its explosive properties.
  3. Cost, pure: $30 per 100 grams.

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