Phosphorus vs. Phosphoric Acid — What's the Difference?
By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on November 26, 2023
Phosphorus is a chemical element with the symbol "P", while Phosphoric Acid is an acid derived from phosphorus in the form of H₃PO₄.
Difference Between Phosphorus and Phosphoric Acid
Table of Contents
Phosphorus is a fundamental element in the periodic table with atomic number 15. It is crucial for life and is found in DNA, ATP, and many other biological molecules. Phosphoric Acid, on the other hand, is a chemical compound that has phosphorus in its molecule, specifically in its triply protonated form.
Phosphorus can exist in several allotropic forms, with white and red phosphorus being the most common. Phosphoric Acid, in contrast, is a weak acid that is often used in fertilizers, food additives, and cleaning agents.
Phosphorus, when exposed to air, can react and form compounds such as phosphorus pentoxide. When phosphorus pentoxide is dissolved in water, it forms Phosphoric Acid, showcasing a direct chemical relationship between the two.
Phosphorus is often mined from rocks and then processed to be used in a variety of industrial applications. Phosphoric Acid, once produced, can be concentrated and used in numerous ways, including as a rust inhibitor or to acidify foods and beverages.
While phosphorus is an essential element for life, its compounds are used in a wide range of products from matches to LED lights. Phosphoric Acid's role in our lives might be less directly evident, but it's still impactful, such as its use in sodas and detergents.
Matches, fertilizers, LED lights
Food additive, rust inhibitor, detergents
DNA, ATP, bones
Not directly involved in biology
Reaction with Water
Forms phosphine gas
Dissociates into ions
Compare with Definitions
An element used in fertilizers to promote plant growth.
The P in NPK fertilizers stands for phosphorus.
An acid used in rust removal products.
To prepare metal for painting, one might treat it with phosphoric acid.
A nonmetallic chemical element found in nature.
Phosphorus is crucial for bone health.
An acid that can act as a buffering agent in various solutions.
In the lab, phosphoric acid can help maintain a solution's pH.
A constituent of DNA and RNA.
Without phosphorus, DNA wouldn't have its backbone.
A substance used to acidify foods and beverages.
Some sodas contain phosphoric acid to balance sweetness.
The element with the chemical symbol "P".
Phosphorus has an atomic number of 15.
A weak acid derived from phosphorus with the formula H₃PO₄.
Phosphoric Acid is used in cola to give it a tangy flavor.
Symbol P A highly reactive, poisonous, nonmetallic element occurring naturally in phosphates, especially apatite, and existing in three allotropic forms, white (or sometimes yellow), red, and black (or violet). An essential element for biological cells, it is used in safety matches, pyrotechnics, incendiary shells, and fertilizers and to protect metal surfaces from corrosion. Atomic number 15; atomic weight 30.9738; melting point (white) 44.15°C; boiling point 280.5°C; specific gravity (white) 1.82, (red) 2.16, (black) 2.25 to 2.69; valence 3, 4, 5. See Periodic Table.
A common ingredient in fertilizer production.
Phosphoric acid provides essential phosphates for plant growth.
A phosphorescent substance.
Phosphorus(Astronomy) See Lucifer.
(chemistry) a chemical element (symbol P) with an atomic number of 15, that exists in several allotropic forms.
(obsolete) any substance exhibiting phosphorescence; a phosphor
The morning star; Phosphor.
A poisonous nonmetallic element of the nitrogen group, obtained as a white, or yellowish, translucent waxy substance, having a characteristic disagreeable smell; this waxy allotropic form is also called yellow phosphorus, to distinguish it from another allotropic form, red phosphorus. It is very active chemically, must be preserved under water, and unites with oxygen even at ordinary temperatures, giving a faint glow, - whence its name. It always occurs combined, usually in phosphates, as in the mineral apatite, in bones, etc. It is used in the composition on the tips of friction matches, and for many other purposes. The molecule contains four atoms. Symbol P. Atomic weight 31.0.
Hence, any substance which shines in the dark like phosphorus, as certain phosphorescent bodies.
A multivalent nonmetallic element of the nitrogen family that occurs commonly in inorganic phosphate rocks and as organic phosphates in all living cells; is highly reactive and occurs in several allotropic forms
A planet (usually Venus) seen just before sunrise in the eastern sky
A substance that can glow in the dark (phosphorescence).
The glow from old-fashioned clock hands is due to phosphorus.
Can phosphorus be found in our body?
Yes, phosphorus is an essential element found in DNA, ATP, and bones.
What is phosphorus?
Phosphorus is a chemical element with the symbol "P" and atomic number 15.
What are common uses of phosphoric acid?
Phosphoric acid is used in fertilizers, food additives, rust inhibitors, and cleaning agents.
How is phosphoric acid related to phosphorus?
Phosphoric Acid is derived from phosphorus and has the formula H₃PO₄.
Is phosphorus dangerous?
In certain forms and amounts, phosphorus can be toxic, and white phosphorus can ignite spontaneously in air.
Is phosphoric acid a strong acid?
No, phosphoric acid is considered a weak acid.
What foods are high in phosphorus?
Foods like dairy products, meat, and nuts are naturally rich in phosphorus.
Are there any health concerns with consuming phosphoric acid?
Consuming large amounts of phosphoric acid may affect bone health and tooth enamel.
Why is phosphoric acid added to sodas?
Phosphoric acid is added to sodas for flavor and to act as a preservative.
What does phosphoric acid taste like?
Phosphoric acid has a sour taste, which is why it's used in some beverages.
Can phosphorus glow in the dark?
Yes, phosphorus exhibits phosphorescence, a type of glow in the dark.
Are there different forms of phosphorus?
Yes, phosphorus has several allotropes, with white and red phosphorus being the most common.
How does phosphoric acid react with bases?
Phosphoric acid reacts with bases to form salts, most commonly phosphates.
How is phosphorus obtained?
Phosphorus is often mined from phosphate rocks and then processed for various uses.
Can phosphoric acid be used in cleaning?
Yes, phosphoric acid is often used in cleaning agents, especially to remove rust.
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Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.