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From: (Norman L. Reitzel   )
Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics
Subject: Re: Phosphorus preparation or extraction?
Date: 5 Nov 1994 19:42:09 GMT
Message-ID: <39gn6h$>

In article <> vimx <> writes:
>Tom Perigrin <> writes:

>>Reason you can't find it for sale anywhere is that (except for toy caps) no

> The red phosphorus is what I want. There's nothing that can dissolve it
>from the caps?

Right you are.  There are only a very few solvents for red phosphorus,
including such nice things as phosphorus tribromide at elevated
temperatures.  How do you get PBr3 - easy, start with phosphorus and
bromine.  Not very helpful, is it?

Back a couple decades ago there was a book on magic that had a method for
producing white phosphorus "at home" - which works, I've tried it.  You
use a variation on the alchemists method of reducing bone meal with
carbon compounds in an iron retort.  The retort is made from a pipe
nipple, and endcap, and a bell reducer, coupled to an iron pipe to use
aas a condenser.  It's easy to make, but -CAUTION-, as it bears a lot of
resemblance to a pipe bomb, and my guess is that the local authorities
would never believe the difference.

Anyway, you mix bone meal with charcoal and syrupy evaporated urine, then
wet the sstuff with sulfuric acid and roll it into little balls.  You put
the balls into the retort, build a roaring fire around it - it needs to
get to bright orange heat - and condense the white phosphorus in a bucket
of water.  You have to be careful to 1) not get poisoned, WP is extremely
dangerous, 2) not suck back water and cause a steam explosion, 3) not
plug up the condenser and make a real pipe bomb out of the thing, and
finally, 4) not immolate yourself in the fire.

Once you have white phosphorus, you can make red phosphorus by adding
just a -trace- of iodine to the water under which the white phosphorus
must be kept, and putting the jar out in the sunlight.  Of course, it
will take a long time to convert.

I concur with Wes.  Best thing is to go buy it.

What I can't figure out is -why- you want red phosphorus.  The only thing
it's good for is some esoteric chemical syntheses - like making amphetamine.
You aren't making drugs, are you?

Or you can be one of those stubborn types that wants to mix it with
chlorate to make a firecracker.  In the latter case, would you please buy
an insurance policy and make me the beneficiary?  Every single person
here who knows anything about pyrotechnics has told you that red
phosphorus is a mistake.  If you are so convinced that we are all idiots,
then be my guest and go for it.  The world will be better off without
your genes.

  Norman L. Reitzel, Jr.       |    "When you live beside the graveyard,   |     you can't cry for every funeral."
  Blue Water Ventures, dba.    |                     Russian Proverb

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