Is there a difference between white phosphorus and red phosphorus?

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Is the elemental symbol (P) different for red phosphorus than it is for white phosphorus?
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No both red and white phosphorus have same symbol P because both are allotropes of phosphorus which means they have same atomic number,mass , chemical properties etc, but they differ in physical properties such as boiling temperature, melting temperature, solubility etc
White phosphorus is obtained by roasting Calcium phosphate rocks and then reducing them using silica
White phosphorus reacts with air vigorously that is it burns instantly in presence of oxygen and show phophorescence property ( it emits bright luminous green light in dark in prsence of small amount of oxygen ) , hence it is stable below 125'C and red phosphorus is stable above 125'C. If you heat white phosphorus upto 125'C in absence of air you get red phosphorus.
White phosphorus has 4 atoms of P linked in tetrahedral shape, where as red phosphorus have amorphous network arrangement hence red phosphorus is more stable.
White P is soluble in carbon di sulfide and small amount in water, but red P is not soluble in both water and carbon disulfide.
white P is used in explosives, match boxes, incendiaries, bullets etc
There are other allotrophes of Phosphorus look up in wikipedia with keyword "Allotrophes of Phosphorus", there are violet, black, di phosphorus etc
hope i was helpful
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  • tzone92 answered 5 years ago
    White and Red Phosphorous are allotropes of phosphorous. Allotropy is when an element can exist molecularly in more than one different form. Oxygen, for example, only exists as O2, and therefore does not have allotropy. Phosphorous forms multiple allotropes, the main two being White Phosphorous and Red Phosphorous, being named after their colors. However, they both have the symbol P.

    White Phosphorous is made up of tetrahedral groups of phosphorous (P4).

    Red Phosphorous looks similar to White Phosphorous, except it is made up of two tetrahedral groups of phosphorous, attached by one side. It is more stable than the white allotrope, which will slowly turn into red phosphorous, after being heated or in the presence of light.
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  • B answered 5 years ago
    one is white whilst the other is red
    hope this helped
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