White phosphorus reacts very fast with atmospheric oxygen and catches fire so it is dipped in water to prevent it from oxygen gas supply because it is insoluble in water. White phosphorus is a translucent waxy solid that quickly becomes yellow when exposed to light. For this reason, it is also called yellow phosphorus.
- White phosphorus is insoluble in water and is therefore stored underwater to prevent oxidation.
- Yellow phosphorus was being used in the manufacture of Lucifer matches.
- White phosphorus is luminous in the dark, poisonous and flammable, igniting spontaneously in the air unless stored underwater.