White Phosphorus

The ultra pure form in the first picture has been cleaned at 70° in chromic acid over 2 days and then washed in nitric acid while molten. It comes out almost transparent and phosphorescent (it absorbs and gives off light as a kind of chemiluminescence). The process of purifying the phosphorus is dangerous, not only because white phosphorus bursts into flame in air, so you have to keep it submerged in distilled water – but also because chromic acid is carcinogenic.

The second picture is what it looked like before cleaning. It must be stored in the dark. #chemicalsyoushouldknow #laboratoryseries #phosphorus

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