Tag Archives: nonmetals

Atomic Number 15 Element Facts

The green glow is emitted by phosphorus, atomic number 15, in the presence of oxygen, atomic number 8. Luc Viatour, Creative Commons License

The green glow is emitted by phosphorus, atomic number 15, in the presence of oxygen, atomic number 8. Luc Viatour, Creative Commons License

Phosphorus is the element that is atomic number 15 on the periodic table. Phosphorus is an element that is essential for human life and found in many everyday products.

Atomic Number 15 Element Facts

  • The symbol for element 15 is P.
  • The element was discovered by alchemist Hennig Brand who was seeking another element, gold. Phosphorus originally was purified from human urine. The method involves collecting a large volume of urine, evaporating off the water, heating the residue, and collecting and condensing the phosphorus-rich vapor.
  • Phosphorus is a reactive element that is found in chemical compounds. It does not occur naturally in pure form.
  • The name “phosphorus” comes from the Greek word ‘phosphoros,’ which means bringer of light. The name refers to the way white phosphorus glows green in air. The word phosphorescence comes from the element name, although phosphorus emits lights from chemiluminescence and not phosphorescence!
  • Phosphorus is a solid at room temperature and pressure. However, it can take one of four forms or allotropes: red, white, yellow, and black/violet. These forms exhibit different characteristics. Black phosphorus is the least reactive allotrope. This form of element 15 resembles the graphite used in pencils. White phosphorus spontaneously oxidizes in air, causing it to glow green. White phosphorus is also extremely toxic. Red phosphorus is used in the strikers of modern safety matches. The “safety” part is that these matches do not spontaneously combust, plus they are considerably less poisonous than the old type of matches that used white phosphorus. However, red phosphorus spontaneously changes into white phosphorus when heated, so match strikers are not categorically safe. One interesting project you can do (preferably wearing gloves) is to purify phosphorus from match strikers to make glowing smoke appear to come from your fingers.
  • Element 15 is a nonmetal. Phosphorus often appears waxy or crumbly. It is a poor conductor of electricity and is not ductile or malleable.
  • Natural phosphorus consists entirely of one stable isotope — phosphorus-31. 18 isotopes are known, with atomic masses ranging from 26 to 43.
  • Commercial uses of phosphorus include fertilizer, phosphor bronze, fireworks, light-emitting diodes, tracer bullets, incendiary devices, detergents, and baking powder. It’s also an ingredient in methamphetamine. The element is essential for human, animal, and plant nutrition. It is the 6th most abundant element in living organisms. In humans, it is necessary for bones, teeth, the backbone of DNA, in cell membranes, and in the energy molecule, ATP. However, people get phosphorus by ingesting the element in compounds — skin contact with pure phosphorus causes chemical burns.
  • The average adult human body contains about 26.5 ounces (750 grams) of phosphate, mostly stored in the bones of the skeletal system.
  • Scientists believe much of the phosphorus found in the Earth’s crust came from meteorites that contained phosphorus compounds.

Sulfur Facts

Sulfur is the 16th element of the periodic table. These sulfur facts contain chemical and physical data along with general information and history.

Element cell for Sulfur

Sulfur Periodic Table Cell

Basic Sulfur Facts

Name: Sulfur

Atomic Number: 16

Element Symbol: S

Group: 16

Period: 3

Block: p

Element Family: Nonmetal

Atomic Mass: [32.059; 32.076]
IUPAC guidelines to reflect the physical and chemical history of the magnesium sample. If a single value of the atomic mass is needed, use 32.066.

Electron Configuration: [Ne]3s23p4 (shorthand) or 1s22s22p63s23p(full)

Discovery: Ancient times

People have known about sulfur since ancient times. It is one of the few elements which can be found in native form. Sulfur has been known by many names: sufra (Arabic word for yellow), brimstone, shulbari (Sanskrit for ‘enemy of copper’) and sulfurium (Latin). It was recognized as an element by French chemist Antoine Lavoisier in 1789.

Name Origin: Sulfur was taken from the Latin spelling of sulfurium. The -ium suffix was dropped because sulfur was not a metal.

Spelling: The f in sulfur was formally adopted by the IUPAC in 1990. Sulphur was used by British chemists since the 19th Century. In 1992, the Royal Society formalized the British spelling to sulfur.

Isotopes:

Natural sulfur is comprised of four stable isotopes: 32S, 33S, 34S, and 36S. Twenty one radioactive isotopes exist ranging from 26S to 49S.

32S
Sulfur-32 is a stable isotope containing 16 neutrons. 95.02% of natural sulfur is sulfur-32.

33S
Sulfur-33 is a stable isotope containing 17 neutrons. 0.75% of natural sulfur is sulfur-33.

34S
Sulfur-34 is a stable isotope containing 18 neutrons. 4.21% of natural sulfur is sulfur-34.

36S
Sulfur-36 is a stable isotope containing 20 neutrons. 0.02% of natural sulfur is sulfur-36.

35S
Sulfur-35 is a radioactive isotope containing 19 neutrons. Sulfur-35 decays by β- decay into 35Cl with a half-life of 87.51 days. This isotope can be found naturally in trace quantities.


Sulfur Crystals

Small crystals of sulfur. Credit: Ben Mills/Public Domain)

Physical Data

Density:  2.07 g/cm3

Melting Point: 388.36 K ​(115.21 °C, ​239.38 °F)

Boiling Point: 717.8 K ​(444.6 °C, ​832.3 °F)

Critical Point: 1314 K at 20.7 MPa

State at 20ºC: Solid

Heat of Fusion: 1.727 kJ/mol

Heat of Vaporization: 45 kJ/mol

Molar Heat Capacity: 22.75 J/mol·K


Sulfur Atom

Electron shell configuration of a sulfur atom.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radius: 1.80 Å

Covalent Radius: 1.05 Å

Van der Waals Radius:  1.80 Å

Electron Affinity: 200.41 kJ/mol

Electronegativity: 2.58

1st Ionization Energy: 999.589 kJ/mol

2nd Ionization Energy: 2251.763 kJ/mol

3rd Ionization Energy: 3356.72 kJ/mol

4th Ionization Energy: 4556.231 kJ/mol

5th Ionization Energy: 7004.305 kJ/mol

6th Ionization Energy: 8495.824 kJ/mol

7th Ionization Energy: 27107.363 kJ/mol

8th Ionization Energy: 31719.56 kJ/mol

Oxidation States: +6, +4, +2 (common), +5, +3, +1, -1, -2 (uncommon)


Melting and Burning Sulfur

Top: Melting sulfur. Melted liquid sulfur is a blood red color. Bottom: Sulfur burns with a blue flame. Credit: Johannes Hemmerlein/GNU License

Fun Sulfur Facts

  • Sulfur occurs freely in nature as a native element.
  • Sulfur turns red when melting.
  • Sulfur combusts with a blue flame.
  • Sulfur has the greatest number of allotropes of any element. There are 30 known allotropes, but the brittle yellow crystals are the most common.
  • Sulfur is used to vulcanize rubber.
  • Sulfur can be used as an antiseptic and antifungal.
  • Most sulfur is used to manufacture sulfuric acid.
  • Many sulfur compounds are toxic. Hydrogen sulfide deadens your sense of smell and can cause respiratory paralysis and death.
  • Sulfur is mined from salt domes by forcing steam into wells. The steam melts the sulfur and the liquid water and sulfur are pumped out.
  • Another source of sulfur is from its removal as a byproduct of petroleum refining.
  • Sulfur has no smell. The smell generally associated with sulfur is actually from sulfur compounds.

Learn more about elements on the periodic table.

Phosphorus Facts

Phosphorus is the 15th element of the periodic table. These phosphorus facts contain chemical and physical data along with general information and history.

Element cell for Phosphorus

Phosphorus Periodic Table Cell

Basic Phosphorus Facts

Name: Phosphorus

Atomic Number: 15

Element Symbol: P

Group: 15

Period: 3

Block: p

Element Family: Nonmetal

Atomic Mass: 30.973 761 998(5)

Electron Configuration: [Ne]3s23p3 (shorthand) or 1s22s22p63s23p(full)

Discovery: Hennig Brand in 1669.

German alchemist Hennig Brand isolated phosphorus from urine. He initially called his substance “cold fire” because it glowed in the dark.

Name Origin: Phosphorus was named from the Greek word phosphoros meaning “light bringer”.

Isotopes:

Natural phosphorus is comprised of one stable isotope: 31P. Twenty two radioactive isotopes exist ranging from 24P to 46P.

31P
Phosphorus-30 is a stable isotope containing 16 neutrons. 100% of natural phosphorus is phosphorus-31.

32P
Phosphorus-32 is a radioactive isotope containing 17 neutrons. Phosphorus-32 decays by β- decay into 32S with a half-life of 14.263 days. This isotope is used by biologists to tag DNA and RNA changes.


Phosphorus Allotropes (Materialscientist)

These are allotropes of phosphorus. From left to right: white (yellow), red, violet, and black metallic.

Physical Data

Phosphorus has four allotropes: white, red, violet and black.

Density: white: 1.823 g/cm3
red: 2.3 g/cm3
violet: 2.36 g/cm3
white: 1.823 g/cm3

Melting Point: 317.3 K ​(44.15°C, 111.47°F)

Boiling Point: 553.7 K ​(280.5°C, 536.9°F)

State at 20ºC: Solid

Heat of Fusion: 0.66 kJ/mol

Heat of Vaporization: 51.9 kJ/mol

Molar Heat Capacity: 23.824 J/mol·K


Phosphorus Atom

Electron shell configuration of a phosphorus atom.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radius: 1.80 Å

Covalent Radius: 1.07 Å

Van der Waals Radius:  1.80 Å

Electron Affinity: 72.037 kJ/mol

Electronegativity: 2.19

1st Ionization Energy: 1011.812 kJ/mol

2nd Ionization Energy: 1907.467 kJ/mol

3rd Ionization Energy: 2914.118 kJ/mol

4th Ionization Energy: 4963.582 kJ/mol

5th Ionization Energy: 6273.969 kJ/mol

6th Ionization Energy: 21267.395 kJ/mol

7th Ionization Energy: 25430.64 kJ/mol

8th Ionization Energy: 29871.9 kJ/mol

Oxidation States: +5, -3 (common), +4, +3, +2, +1, -1, -2 (uncommon)


Fun Phosphorus Facts

  • Phosphorus is highly reactive. It is not found free in nature.
  • White phosphorus is a waxy solid and very poisonous. The lethal dose is around 50 mg.
  • White phosphorus glows in the dark and can spontaneously combust in air.
  • Red phosphorus is found on the side of matchboxes. Red phosphorus is formed when white phosphorus is heated to 250 ºC and forms a vapor. The vapor is then collected under water.
  • Phosphorus is essential to life. Phosphates (PO4-3 ions) are a major part of each molecule of DNA and RNA. They are the P in ADP and ATP, the molecules responsible for energy transport in the cell.
  • Phosphorus is found in bones. Ashes from bone was an early source of phosphorus.
  • The second of the three numbers on fertilizer is associated with phosphorus.
  • Phosphorus is the sixth most common element in the human body.
  • Phosphorus is the seventh most common element in the Earth’s crust.
  • Early matches used white phosphorus in the match head. Workers in match factories were overexposed to phosphorus and developed a painful, debilitating deformation of the jawbone known as ‘phossy jaw’
  • The border between Bolivia and Chile was altered because of phosphorus. Chile and Peru went to war with Bolivia over access to lucrative guano islands off the coast. Guano is high in nitrogen and phosphate, and in 1879, a vital source of both elements. Ultimately, Bolivia lost the land that connected them to the Pacific Ocean.
  • Overuse of phosphorus and phosphates in the environment causes algae to bloom in rivers and lakes. The excess algae uses up all the dissolved oxygen in the water and fish (and the algae) dies.
  • Hennig Brand’s process to get phosphorus from urine was a tightly kept secret. He chose to to sell his process to other alchemists. This process became more widely known when it was sold to the French Academy of Sciences in 1737.

Learn more about elements on the periodic table.

Periodic Table Trends

The Periodic Table is called this not just because it is a table of the elements, but because it is arranged to reflect the periodic trends of the elements.

Periodic Table Trends

 

This table shows the periodic table trends of six different physical properties of the elements: atomic radius, electron affinity, electronegativity, ionization energy, and metallic/nonmetallic character.

Atomic radius is half the distance between two identical atoms touching each other.

  • atomic radius increases as you move right to left
  • atomic radius increases as you move down

As you move across the periodic table from right to left, each element contains one more electron and one more proton. The electrons form shells and are attracted strongly to the positive charge in the nucleus, pulling the shells closer to the center and effectively making the atom smaller with the addition of each proton. As you move down the periodic table, the valence of the the atom remains the same, but there are more filled electron shells between the outer electrons and the positive nucleus. These outer shells are shielded from the positive charge of the nucleus by layers of electrons and the effective charge they experience is less than the element above them. The outer electrons are not held as tightly as the outer electrons of the elements above them on the table.

Electron Affinity is the ability of an atom to accept an electron. It is measured by the energy change in the atom as an electron is added to the gaseous form of the atom.

  • electron affinity increases as you move left to right
  • electron affinity decreases as you move down

Atoms with stronger nuclear charge tend to have higher electron affinities as you move across the table. As you move down, the outer electron is both shielded from the nucleus by filled shells and physically further away. Both of these reduce the force of attraction between the nucleus and the added electron.

Electronegativity is the measure of attraction between the atom’s nucleus and electrons in a chemical bond. In general, the higher the electronegativity, the stronger the force of attraction between bonded electron and the atom nucleus.

  • electronegativity increases as you move left to right across the table
  • electronegativity decreases as you move down the table

A related term is electropositive. Think of it as the opposite of electronegativity. Atoms with low electronegativity are highly electropositive.

Ionization Energy is the energy needed to remove an electron from a gaseous atom. The tighter the nucleus holds an electron, the more energy needed to remove it.

  • ionization energy increases as you move left to right across the table
  • ionization energy decreases as you move down the table

Metallic and Nonmetallic Characteristics are a group of physical properties. As you move up and across from the bottom left of the table, the elements begin to take on the characteristics of nonmetals. Moving the opposite way, the elements take on properties of metals. For a more detailed examination of the difference, check out metals, metalloids and nonmetals.

List of Nonmetals

Nonmetal Elements

The highlighted elements are the nonmetal elements.

The nonmetal elements occupy the upper righthand corner of the periodic table. These elements have similar chemical properties that differ from the elements considered metals.

The nonmetal element group is a subset of these elements. The nonmetal element group consists of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulfur and selenium.

Hydrogen acts as a nonmetal at normal temperatures and pressure and is generally accepted to be part of the nonmetal group.

Properties of nonmetals include:

  • dull, not shiny
  • poor conductor of heat
  • poor conductor of electricity
  • high ionization energies
  • high electronegativity
  • not malleable or ductile, usually brittle
  • lower density (when compared to metals)
  • lower melting point and boiling points (when compared to metals)
  • gains electrons in reactions

This is a list of the nonmetal elements in order of increasing atomic number.

 NUMBER SYMBOLELEMENT
1HHydrogen
2HeHelium
6CCarbon
7NNitrogen
8OOxygen
9FFluorine
10NeNeon
15PPhosphorus
16SSulfur
17ClChlorine
18ArArgon
34SeSelenium
35BrBromine
36KrKrypton
53IIodine
54XeXenon
85AtAstatine
86RnRadon
117UusUnunseptium
118UuoUnunoctium

List of Metalloids or Semimetals

The metalloids or semimetals are a group of elements that contain properties of both metals and nonmetals. The highlighted elements are the metalloids.

The metalloids or semimetals are a group of elements that contain properties of both metals and nonmetals. The highlighted elements are the metalloids.

Metalloids, also known as semimetals are elements containing properties similar and midway between metals and nonmetals. They are found to divide the periodic table between the metals on the left and the nonmetals on the right.

Metalloids often have the following properties:

  • could be dull or shiny
  • conducts heat and electricity, but not as well as metals
  • good semiconductors
  • usually malleable
  • usually ductile
  • can both gain and lose electrons in reactions

This is a list of the seven metalloid elements in order of increasing atomic number.

 NUMBER SYMBOLELEMENT
5BBoron
14SiSilicon
32GeGermanium
33AsArsenic
51SbAntimony
52TeTellurium
84PoPolonium

Metals, Metalloids and Nonmetals

The elements of the periodic table can be broken into three different groups: metals, metalloids (or semi-metals) and nonmetals.

Periodic Table Metals Nonmetals and MetalloidsThis periodic table shows the three different groups of elements. The metalloid group separates the metals from the nonmetals. Elements to the left are metals and nonmetals are to the right. The exception is the element hydrogen. Hydrogen has properties of a nonmetal at normal temperatures and pressures.

Properties of Metals

  • solid at room temperature (with the exception of mercury)
  • usually shiny
  • high melting point
  • good conductor of heat
  • good conductor of electricity
  • malleable – able to be pounded into sheets
  • ductile – can be pulled into wire
  • high density (exceptions: lithium, potassium and sodium)
  • corrodes in air or seawater
  • loses electrons in reactions

Properties of Metalloids or Semimetals

  • could be dull or shiny
  • conducts heat and electricity, but not as well as metals
  • good semiconductors
  • usually malleable
  • usually ductile
  • can both gain and lose electrons in reactions

Properties of Nonmetals

  • dull, not shiny
  • poor conductor of heat
  • poor conductor of electricity
  • not malleable or ductile, usually brittle
  • lower density (when compared to metals)
  • lower melting point and boiling points (when compared to metals)
  • gains electrons in reactions