Special Materials in Pyrotechnics: IV.[1] The Chemistry of Phosphorus and its Compounds

Ernst-Christian Koch

ABSTRACT: The combustion chemistry of phosphorus and its compounds in pyrotechnic applications is discussed. Whereas red phosphorus (RP) and phosphorus sulfides can be used as fuels, the phosphates can be used as oxidizers in metalcontaining pyrolants. Phosphorus combustion mainly occurs in the gas phase after volatilization of the parent phosphorus source, be it P4 or Pred. The enormous sensitivity of RP and its mixtures is mainly due to high strain in red phosphorus building blocks and trace amounts of phosphoric acids formed in non-stabilized RP. The inherent danger of RP/chlorate mixtures is believed to result for the most part from acidbase reactions in non-stabilized RP mixtures leading to the highly reactive species ClO2, which will trigger ignition.

Keywords: red phosphorus, phosphate, phosphide, white phosphorus, chlorate, smoke, Armstrong’s mixture

Ref: JPyro, Issue 21, 2005, pp39-50

© Journal of Pyrotechnics and CarnDu Ltd

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