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Author: Subject: Ampuling P4
albatros
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[*] posted on 31-5-2021 at 11:07
Ampuling P4


Hi, new to this forum, but I knew it since a long time, and I got a question: How do I safely and effectively put some white phosphorus in borosilicate ampules?
I got my hand on a big source of it, and would like to store it safely, maybe sell some of it, but in good containers.
That's where I think ampules is the best.
I think I will do it in 2ml borosilicate ampule, in a big bucket of distilled water, heated to fusion temperature of the P4, take it with a syringe, and put it in ampules, under a blanket of water, then seal it with a bunsen burner with the end of the ampule in ice, or better, dry ice.
What are the difficulties I may encounter, and what can I expect?
i checked the FSE, and read about ampouling.
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[*] posted on 31-5-2021 at 11:30


Why would you want to ampoule the white P? Just put it in a strong glass jar, with a good tightly sealing screw cap (best is a metal cap), filled with cold water, just 1 cm under the rim. Then put this jar in a slightly larger plastic jar, wrapped in some paper. This protects it from accidental breaking. I store mine just as described above, in a small glass mustard jar. I already have it like this for years. No problems at all.

If you want to do things really well, then boil the water before putting it in the jar, to drive off any dissolved oxygen. When the water has cooled down, then you can put the white P in it. When this is done, then the white P remains nicely white. With just plain tap water, there will be slight oxidation, until all oxygen is used up. This leads to a thin brown film of partially oxidized white P on the surface of the water. However, when all oxygen is used up, there will be no further oxidation if a metal cap is used (this does not allow any oxygen to pass through).




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albatros
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[*] posted on 31-5-2021 at 11:56


Thanks for the advice Woelen.
I would like to ampule it to sell it as a part of an elemental table with reals elements, plus I was thinking if i sealed it, there would be no possible interaction between the air and the water.
I will get mine with this layer of oxidation, I was thinking I could just filter it with some cotton and a syringe, under warm water to collect only pure white P, leaving impurities behind, am I correct or is there a better procedure?
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[*] posted on 31-5-2021 at 14:18


albatros
I think you are seriously underestimating the risks associated with white P. You are wanting to melt it, filter it, cool it and put a flame near it. It is one of those things that the less handling the better. Just consider what will happen if your gram or two of P4 ignites while you are ampouling. How do you manage the resifue in your equipment after all this handling?

There is nothing wrong with a secure screw-top vial for an element collection. If you are really worried, encase it in resin after that.


Certainly you should have some practice with ampouling before you even think about anything this hazardous. Start with empty ampoules or inert solids. Then try water -- with minimal air gap. See if you can control the temperature so that the water does not boil. Or try ampouling some of those spherical neodymium magnets in a test tube without going over the curie temperature. How do you go with a volatile, non-flamable liquid? Then you can move on to more hazardous items. In this context, bromine is way less hazardous than phorphorus.
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[*] posted on 31-5-2021 at 21:21


Albatros, I understand the problem that you have encountered here. What you are trying to do may lead to a catastrophic ignition of your white phosphorus samples due to the use of an open flame. Have you considered using hermetically sealed vials as a safer alternative? I'm quite sure it would do what you are trying to accomplish with an ampule. There is minimal tooling required and it would be less dangerous.

Attached image: ~1 gram of elemental P4 in a hermetically sealed vial.

White-Phosphorus-Element-Sample-1g-999-Pure.jpg - 24kB

[Edited on 6-1-2021 by Runic7]
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[*] posted on 1-6-2021 at 00:25


There is another issue with white P in a glass ampoule or vial, when it is used for display purposes. White P is converted to red P under influence of light. If you put it in a nice display box, hanging on a wall, exposed to light day after day, then your nice white sample of phosphorus soon will be red.

I myself decided to cheat in my element collection. For the white phosphorus, I ampouled a piece of white wax, which I melted in a polypropylene tube and after solidification, I cut the tube and peeled it off. This left me with a nice stick of "white phosphorus". This stick I ampouled under water (its density is larger than water density) and I use this as a white phosphorus replacement, which remains good over the years and which also is safer (just in caser someone drops the ampoule and it breaks).

I have one other element, which I faked, and that is F2. I put a tiny amount of Cl2 and NO2 in an ampoule, the rest being dried air, such that the mix is barely visible (only when watched along the length of the ampoule one can see a very pale yellowish/brown color). This is close to the real appearance of F2, but without the serious issues of having ampouled F2 around.

I also have a real element sample of white P, which also is on my website, but I store that in the dark, in a nice small display vial, filled with water. My main stock of white P I store in a glass jar, as written above, in the dark. I have a ncie amount of it, 60 grams or so, good for quite a few experiments.

[Edited on 1-6-21 by woelen]




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[*] posted on 1-6-2021 at 02:23


Long ago I had 500g of white phosphorous,
in uk (<20C) it was slightly phosphorescent when exposed to the atmosphere,
here in malaysia (>30C) it bursts into flames after a few minutes exposure to the atmosphere,
- burning phosphorous is nasty - huge clouds of choking P2O5.

... be careful...




CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
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[*] posted on 1-6-2021 at 06:38


Thanks for all the advises.
I will go to the hermetically sealed vial, it seem the best idea, thanks Runic7.
I thought a lot about using an open flame to seal it, the dangers associated with that, and it's not the best idea I got.
I will post an update when I finally get it, but I will go with this method, wich is really safer than the first idea.
Thanks to all that have participated, I'm glad I asked first.
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