Skip to content

Uses of phosphorus

Uses Of Phosphorus Phosphorus is the chemical element of the periodic table represented by the symbol P, its atomic number is 15. It is characterized by being a multivalent nonmetal, it is part of group 15 which is known as nitrogens.

This element exists in nature in combination with living organisms and with inorganic phosphates, but not in the ground state. It has a high reactivity and can spontaneously oxidize when it comes into contact with atmospheric oxygen emitting light.

It has a sedimentary cycle and the earth’s crust is its reservoir. This element is preserved in phosphate rocks and when these erode, they release phosphate compounds into water and soil. These are then taken up by the roots of the plants and transferred to the living elements of the system, passing through each of the different trophic levels.

When animals and plants die, they decompose and release the phosphorus that was in the organic matter. There are different allotropic forms of this element, the most popular being red and white phosphorus. These two create tetrahedral structures made up of four atoms.

Uses of phosphorus

Uses Of Phosphorus Phosphorus is an important chemical element that has a single stable isotope. The different applications and uses of this element are diverse, some of the most important are those mentioned below:

  • Phosphates are used to create a special glass, used in the manufacture of sodium lamps.
  • In the lab area, there are two radioactive isotopes of this element that can be used as radioactive tracers.
  • Phosphorus is an important nutrient for plants, which is why it is added to fertilizers.
  • Phosphorus is an element found in match heads. Safety matches and flares are also made of phosphorus.
  • Calcium phosphate can be used to create fine porcelain.
  • Tributylphosphate is a phosphorus compound used for the extraction of uranium. This procedure is known as Purex.
  • White phosphorus is used in tracer munitions, smoke screens and incendiary bombs.
  • It is used to produce steel.
  • It is an important compound of RNA and DNA.
  • Some phosphorus compounds are used to make food additives, pesticides, fertilizers and toothpastes.
  • Sodium tripolyphosphate is used in laundry detergents but is banned in some countries because it kills fish when it gets into waterways.

Electron configuration of phosphorus

The electrons belonging to the phosphorus are structured or modified taking into account the model of the Electron shells. The full match pattern is: 1s22s22p63s23p3. This means that in the first shell the phosphorus has 2 electrons, in the second there are 8 and in the third there are 5.

This configuration can be presented in a simplified way by paying attention to the first subshells of its configuration as well as the firsts of the noble gas which is next to the phosphorus. A comparison is made by taking the reference of the sub-layers which present similarities.

Simplifying the element’s long Electron notation, keeping in mind the subshells that are the same between the closely related noble gas and phosphorus, results in the following configuration: [Ne] 3s2 3p3.

Biological function of phosphorus

Phosphorus compounds are among the essential functions in living beings, which is why it is considered an important chemical element. Although current experiments show that certain lifestyles can be replaced by arsenic.

It is part of the inorganic phosphate known as the pi molecule and is also found in DNA and RNA molecules and in phospholipids found in lipid membranes.

Cells use it for energy transport and storage through adenosine triphosphate. Moreover, the removal and addition of phosphate groups in phosphorylation, proteins and dephosphorylation is the main mechanism by which the activity of intracellular proteins is regulated and at the same time the metabolism of eukaryotic cells such as spermatozoa.

Precautions with Phosphorus

White phosphorus is very toxic, a dose as low as 50 mg can kill. It is also highly flammable, so it must be stored under water or oil to prevent it from coming into contact with oxygen as this can cause violent and immediate combustion. Produces skin burns. Continuous exposure to phosphorus leads to jaw necrosis.

Red phosphorus does not ignite spontaneously in contact with air nor is it toxic, but it must be handled with care as it can cause a transformation into white phosphorus which can emit toxic fumes when inhaled. heated.

Electron Configuration (April 29, 2022) Uses of phosphorus. Retrieved from
"Uses of phosphorus." Electron Configuration - April 29, 2022,
Electron Configuration April 20, 2022 Uses of phosphorus., viewed April 29, 2022,<>
Electron Configuration - Uses of phosphorus. [Internet]. [Accessed April 29, 2022]. Available from:
"Uses of phosphorus." Electron Configuration - Accessed April 29, 2022.
"Uses of phosphorus." Electron Configuration [Online]. Available: [Accessed: April 29, 2022]
Follow by Email