Red phosphorus is one of the most common allotropes of phosphorus and is considered a derivative of the P4 molecule. Red phosphorus is characterized by its deep red colour and powdery texture. Red phosphorus exists in a polymeric chain of tetrahedrally structured P4 molecules in which one of the P-P bonds are broken to enable the linking of these tetrahedrons.
- Red phosphorus is odourless and has a deep red colour.
- It is not poisonous to humans, in contrast to the white phosphorus allotrope.
- Upon heating to temperatures above 300oC, red phosphorus undergoes crystallization.
- It can also assume a cubic structure in its crystal lattice.
- Red phosphorus is also used as a flame retardant in many thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics.