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Basic Information
CAS No.: 12185-10-3
Name: White phosphorus
Molecular Structure:
Molecular Structure of 12185-10-3 (White phosphorus)
Formula: P4
Molecular Weight: 123.89
Synonyms: Phosphorus, mol. (P4);Phosphorus tetraatomic molecule;Phosphorus tetramer;Tetraatomic phosphorus;Tetrameric phosphorus;
Melting Point: 44.1℃
Boiling Point:
Flash Point:
Appearance: Yellow wax
Hazard Symbols:
Risk Codes:
Transport Information:
PSA: 54.36000
LogP: 3.44480
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  White phosphorus (CAS NO.12185-10-3) is believed to have been first used by Fenian arsonists in the 19th century in the form of a solution of WP in carbon disulfide. When the carbon disulfide evaporated, the WP would burst into flames, and probably also ignite the highly flammable carbon disulfide fumes. This mixture was known as "Fenian fire" and allegedly was used by disgruntled itinerant workers in Australia to cause delayed destruction of shabby sleeping quarters.
In 1916, during an intense ideological struggle over conscription for the First World War, twelve members of the I.W.W., a radical union of workers who openly opposed conscription, were arrested and convicted for using or plotting to use incendiary materials, including phosphorus. It is believed that eight or nine men in this group, known as the Sydney Twelve, had been framed by the police. Most were released in 1920 after an inquiry.


White phosphorus is a material made from a common allotrope of the chemical element phosphorus that is used in smoke, tracer, illumination and incendiary munitions.The systematic name of White phosphorus is Tricyclo[,4]tetraphosphane. With the CAS registry number 12185-10-3, it is also named as Tetrameric phosphorus. The product's other registry number is 51273-58-6. Besides, this chemical is a transparent waxy solid that quickly becomes yellow when exposed to light. It glows greenish in the dark, which is highly flammable and pyrophoric (self-igniting) upon contact with air as well as toxic. In addition, it is only slightly soluble in water that can be stored under water. However, it is soluble in benzene, oils, carbon disulfide, and disulfur dichloride.

Physical properties about White phosphorus are: (1)ACD/LogP: -3.32; (2)ACD/LogD (pH 5.5): -3.32; (3)ACD/LogD (pH 7.4): -3.32; (4)ACD/BCF (pH 5.5): 1.00; (5)ACD/BCF (pH 7.4): 1.00

Preparation of White phosphorus: this chemical is produced by reducing of phosphate rock (calcium phosphate or calcium fluorophosphate) with carbon in the presence of silica as fiux; an electric arc furnace furnishes heat of reaction.
2Ca3(PO4)2 + 10C + 6SiO2 → P4 + 6CaSiO3 + 10CO
The silica is an essential raw material that serves as an acid and a flux.
About 20 percent of the fluorine present in the phosphate rock is converted to SiF4 and volatilized. In the presence of water vapor this reacts to give silica (SiO2) and fluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6).
3SiF4 + 2H2O → 2H2SiF6 + SiO2

Uses of White phosphorus: this product can be used as a weapon because it ignites spontaneously in air at about 50 °C to give phosphorus (V) oxide. The reaction equation is as follows:
P4 + 5O2 → P4O10
Moreover, it is used as the system to take the red phosphorus, the phosphoric acid and phosphorous compound raw material. And it is also used in the raticide.

People can use the following data to convert to the molecule structure.
(4)Std. InChI:InChI=1S/P4/c1-2-3(1)4(1)2