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ERIC Number: EJ920467
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Phosphorus Flamethrower: A Demonstration Using Red and White Allotropes of Phosphorus
Golden, Melissa L.; Person, Eric C.; Bejar, Miriam; Golden, Donnie R.; Powell, Jonathan M.
Journal of Chemical Education, v87 n11 p1154-1158 Nov 2010
A demonstration was created to display the unique behavior of a familiar element, phosphorus, and to make chemistry more accessible to the introductory student. The common allotropes of phosphorus and their reactivity are discussed. In this demonstration, the white allotrope of phosphorus is synthesized from the red phosphorus obtained from a matchbook. White phosphorus is exposed to oxygen in the air, and an eye-catching flame is produced. This simple, effective, and dramatic demonstration shows the conversion between red and white allotropes of phosphorus, its reaction with oxygen to form phosphorus oxides, and hydrolysis to form phosphoric acid. Care has been taken to minimize the hazards of burning white phosphorus and to identify proper methods of disposal. (Contains 3 figures and 1 scheme.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A