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Mock Sun

Chemical Concept Demonstrated

  • Chemistry of phosphorus

Demonstration

A flask is filled with O2, and phosphorus is ignited and immersed in the flask (picture #2). phos.gif

Observations

The phosphorus lights up brightly.  As the flask fills with smoke, the entire flask gives off a uniform glow.

Explanation

Phosphorus reacts with oxygen in an exothermic reaction:

P4 (s) + O2 (g) --> P4O10 (s)

This reaction produces so much light that it is nicknamed the "Mock Sun."

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