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Burning Red Phosphorus

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Published on 2021-03-26
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1. What is Burning Red Phosphorus

Red phosphorus is used in the production of semiconductors, pyrotechnics, fertilizers, safety matches, pesticides, smoke bombs, incendiary shells in organic synthesis reactions. Red Phosphorus exists in an amorphous network of phosphorus atoms. It is found to be more stable than white phosphorus as it exists in a polymeric chain of tetrahedrally structured P4 molecules in which one of the P-P bonds is broken to enable the linking of these tetrahedrons. 

2. The Function of Burning Red Phosphorus

When burned, red phosphorus forms the same oxides as those obtained in the burning of white phosphorus, P4O6 when the air supply is limited, and P4O10 when sufficient air is present. As shown in the burning red phosphorus diagram, in the oxygen atmosphere, the burning red phosphorus flares up bright yellow. The dense white mist spreads through the flask. On completion of the reaction, the mist settles on the walls of the flask and is easily dissolved in water.

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