Discover of Phosphours

Phosphorus discovery history

Each of the 103 chemical elements has an interesting story. Elements have different colors. Some are metals, some are crystals, some are liquids and some are gases. Elements are obtained in many different ways, and elements have many interesting uses. Let us look closely at a few of them. We have learned that alchemists discovered several chemical elements, but we know about the actual discovery of only one of these elements. In 1669, a German alchemist, Hennig Brand, was trying to make gold from cheaper materials.
Hennig Brand

Hennig Brand

Because gold was considered to be the most perfect metal, alchemists called it a “noble” metal. Brand reasoned that nothing could be nobler than the human body and materials connected with it. So, perhaps, it would be possible to change something connected with the noble human body into the noble metal, gold. With this idea in mind, Brand mixed together some human urine and sand, and heated them in an oven.
We do not know why he chose sand, but it was not unusual for alchemists to heat together any odd combination of materials that came to mind. When taken from the cooled oven, Brand’s mixture glowed strongly in the dark. Brand had not, of course, made gold, but he had made a soft, whitish, waxy material. This material had been in a compound dissolved in the urine, although Brand did not know this. He named the glowing material phosphorus, which is Greek for the words “I bear light.” Phosphorus turned out to be an element — it could not be divided into simpler materials.

Discovery of matches


matches red phosphorus


A century and a half after the discovery of this element, it was found that phosphorus mixed with other materials would catch fire when rubbed. This mixture was used to make tips for matches. Unfortunately, since phosphorus is very poisonous, many people who worked in match factories died from breathing the vapor of heated phosphorus. But fortunately, in 1845, another kind of phosphorus—red phosphorus—was discovered. It is not poisonous and eventually, all countries passed laws that At the left is an alchemist’s oven; right. Brand discovers phosphorus banned the use of white phosphorus in the manufacture of matches.
1 reply
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