Phosphorus is highly reactive and has the following important chemical properties
Reaction with oxygen: Yellow phosphorus readily catches fire in air giving dense white fumes of phosphorus pentoxide. Red phosphorus also reacts with oxygen on heating to give phosphorus trioxide or phosphorus pentoxide.
Reaction with chlorine: Phosphorus reacts with chlorine to form tri and penta chloride. Yellow phosphorus reacts violently at room temperature, while red phosphorous reacts on heating
Reaction with alkali: Yellow phosphorous reacts with alkali on boiling in an inert atmosphere liberating phosphine. Here phosphorus act as reducing agent.
Reaction with nitric acid: When phosphorous is treated with conc. nitric acid it is oxidised to phosphoric acid. This reaction is catalysed by iodine crystals.
Reaction with metals: Phosphorous reacts with metals like Ca and Mg to give phosphides.. Metals like sodium and potassium react with phosphorus vigorously.
· The red phosphorus is used in the match boxes
· It is also used for the production of certain alloys such as phosphor bronze