Element Rebus for Phosphorus


Chem4Kids Scientist Guy with Spiked Hair
Even though humans have been using periodic table with phosphorus (P) for thousands of years, it was not isolated and named until 1669 by a chemist named Brand. We always like the anecdote that he was able to isolate phosphorus from samples of his urine ("his", meaning he probably owned it... we think... unless he took someone else's... let's not go into it). Now that's dedication!

Phosphorus is another one of those elements that you will never find free in nature. It is very reactive. When isolated and pure, phosphorus is clear and almost transparent. There are four common forms of phosphorous used today: white, black, red, and violet. It's easy to spot phosphorus on the periodic table just under nitrogen (N) at position number fifteen. You can find phosphorus in baking powder, fertilizers, and fireworks.

Where can you find phosphorus?

Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Scientists use phosphorus to make baking powder. You will find it as the compound calcium phosphate. Go take a look in your refrigerator or cupboards. Maybe your mom keeps baking powder in there for when she needs to do some cooking. When you see that white powder you'll know that scientists used phosphorus to make it. It's even in some of your cheeses.
Fine China
China and Plates
Phosphorus is also used to make dishes. Fine china is very expensive because a lot of special procedures go into making it. Phosphorus is one of the special elements that are used to make that fine china.
You can find lots of phosphorus in fireworks. When phosphorus gets hot it burns really brightly. The bright sparks and flashes are usually because of that phosphorus.
Phosphorus is a very important element in fertilizers. Plants need small amounts of phosphorus to grow up healthy. People also need phosphorus and they get it by eating plants.
Scientists use phosphorus when they make glass. If you look at your computer or television they have glass monitors. So much is made of glass. It's everywhere you look. A lot of that glass was made with help from phosphorus.

► More about the orbitals and compounds of phosphorus.
► Next element of the periodic table.

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Related Links
- Chem4Kids: Periodic Table
- Chem4Kids: Atoms
- Chem4Kids: Compounds
- Chem4Kids: Nitrogen
- Chem4Kids: Chemical Bonds
- Chem4Kids: Biochemistry
- Geography4Kids: Biosphere
- Geography4Kids: Phosphorus Cycle
- Biology4Kids: Cell Function

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