Red Phosphorus

Detonation of a red phosphorus and potassium chlorate mixture through impact
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During the 1840's red phosphorus began to be produced: initially by heating white phosphorus (P4) in a sealed glass vessel at 250 ºC for several days. Red phosphorus is an amorphous phosphorus polymer, it is denser than white phosphorus and has a higher melting point, it is also more resistant to oxidation, less reactive and less toxic. As a result red phosphorus is much safer to handle. Arthur Albright developed a reliable method of preparing red phosphorus from the patented method by Professor Anton von Schrötter. Albright's method is similar to the procedure used today whereby white phosphorus is heated at 260 ºC for five days, without air, and then heated to 400 ºC to distil off unreacted white phosphorus.

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