White phosphorus reacts vigorously with oxygen and so it should be stored underwater. Phosphorus occurs in two main forms: white phosphorus and red phosphorus, but it is never present as a free element on Earth due to its high reactivity.
Phosphorus is a chemical element with an atomic number of 15, which means that the atomic structure includes 15 protons and 15 electrons.
- White phosphorus is insoluble in water and is therefore stored underwater to prevent oxidation.
- White phosphorus is luminous in the dark, poisonous and flammable, igniting spontaneously in the air unless stored underwater.
- When white phosphorus exposed to atmosphere it reacts with oxygen to produce P4O10.
P4 + 5O2 → P4O10