What is Red Phosphorus?

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 Structure

  • 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.

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