The discovery of phosphorus.

definition
  • “Phosphorus is a chemical element with the symbol P and atomic number 15. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms, white phosphorus and red phosphorus, but because it is highly reactive, phosphorus is never found as a free element on Earth.”[1]
DISCOVERY

The German merchant, pharmacist and alchemist Hennig Brand discovered phosphorus accidentally in 1669 when he was trying to produce gold from urine. Here is the method[2] he employed: 

  • First, urine was boiled to reduce it to a thick syrup.
  • The syrup was heated until a red oil distilled up from it, which was then drawn off.
  • Once the syrup was cooled, it consisted of a black spongy upper part and a salty lower part.
  • The salt was discarded and the red oil was introduced back into the black material.
  • White fumes of phosphorus were released which was then passed under cold water in order for it to condense and solidify. This process was done with the help of a retort.

[ux_image id=”695″ link=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retort?wprov=sfti1″ target=”_blank”]

discoverer

Here is a painting[4] depicting Hennig Brand (the glow of the phosphorus is exaggerated):

[ux_image_box img=”698″ image_width=”50″ link=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hennig_Brand?wprov=sfti1″ target=”_blank”]

(1630 – c.1692 or c.1710)

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sources
  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphorus?wprov=sfti1
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hennig_Brand?wprov=sfti1
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retort?wprov=sfti1
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hennig_Brand?wprov=sfti1




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