Encyclopedia of Geochemistry

Living Edition
| Editors: William M. White


  • Karl B. Föllmi
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-39193-9_189-1

Element Data

  • Atomic Symbol: P

  • Atomic Number: 15

  • Atomic Weight: 30.97 g/mol

  • Isotopes and Abundances: 31P (stable, 100%), radioactive isotopes from 24P to 46P, with 32P (short-lived; half-life = 14.3 days) and 33P (short-lived; half-life = 25.4 days) being the longest-lived ones

  • 1 Atm Melting Point: 44.1 °C

  • 1 Atm Boiling Point: 280 °C

  • Common Valences: +5, +3, +2, +1, −2, −3

  • Ionic Radii: 2.12 Å (−3) and 0.29 Å (+5)

  • Pauling Electronegativity: 2.19

  • First Ionization Energy: 1012 kJ/mol

  • Chondritic (CI) Abundance: 926 ppm

  • Silicate Earth Abundance: 90 ppm

  • Crustal Abundance: 1120 ppm

  • Seawater Abundance: 0.06 ppm

  • Core Abundance: 2000 ppm

Properties, Origin, and Behavior

Elemental phosphorus is known in four allotropic varieties – white or yellow, red, violet, and black P, with different specific densities (1.82 g/cm3, 2.34 g/cm3, 2.36 g/cm3, and 2.69 g/cm3, respectively). Elemental phosphorus is highly reactive in the presence of oxygen, ignites and starts to luminescence (“phosphorescence”:...

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Earth SciencesUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland