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PHOSPHORUS CHEMISTRY: INTRODUCTION

The Periodic Table-1

PHOSPHORUS: ELEMENTAL BASICS

In chemistry, the symbol P is used to represent PHOSPHORUS.

A Picture of the atomic model of phosphorus is given in this link.

Some Structural figures of Phosphorus compounds:

NATURAL OCCURANCE: In Nature, phosphorus occurs as phosphates in rocks, bones, teeth and also other important chemicals in all life forms. Phosphate linkage is the backbone of the life coded DNA and RNA polymers; it is also chosen as the energy carrier for the biological systems. Phosphate units are also found in lipids, proteins and enzymes. Thus making phosphorus one of the vital elements for the living systems.

ELEMENT: As a chemical element also phosphorus has important and interesting properties. It has different allotropes; the white phosphorus is well known for its burning with light property which is why it is named so; its name means 'light bearing'. The white (or its impure form, the yellow phosphorus) must be stored under water or in an inert gas. On the other hand, the red phosphorus is very stable and can be handled safely. White phosphorus contains only four atoms, all connected to each other which results in very high ring strain; the strain and the small molecular size contribute to the easy burning nature. The red phosphorus has a polymeric form; it has less ring strain which on added with the polymeric nature results in higher stability.

CLASSIFICATION: Phosphorus chemistry is considered as part of INORGANIC CHEMISTRY. However, vast majority of studies are closely related to ORGANIC CHEMISTRY and are better considered as MAIN GROUP CHEMISTRY which essentially deals with the chemistry of all p-block elements except carbon. The chemistry of phosphates and phosphides are very much Inorganic Chemistry. The COORDINATION CHEMISTRY of Phosphorus is a mix of Inorganic Chemistry and the Main Group Chemistry (or ORGANOPHOSPHORUS CHEMISTRY). The rest can all be grouped under Organophosphorus Chemistry or Main Group Chemistry.


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Created by Dr. A. Chandrasekaran
Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts, AMHERST, MA 01003, USA.

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