Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

White Phosphorous Can Be Safely Handled And Transported With New Technique, Researchers Say

Date:
July 5, 2009
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a technique to safely handle and transport white phosphorous.

For centuries it has been known for its violent combustion upon contact with air – but now a Cambridge-led team of researchers reveals that it has tamed one of the most hazardous chemical substances.

Their work could also result in an array of hazardous chemicals being handled and transported more safely in future.

The substance in question is white phosphorus, a feedstock for the preparation of many useful chemicals such as weed killers, insecticides and fertiliser.

White phosphorus is also infamous for its propensity to burst into flame. For this reason it is often used in military campaigns to create smokescreens to mask movement from the enemy, as well as an incendiary in bombs, artillery and mortars.

This research, published this week in the journal Science, was carried out by a team consisting of Prasenjit Mal, Boris Breiner and senior author Jonathan Nitschke at the University of Cambridge's Department of Chemistry, together with Kari Rissanen from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland.

The team created a 'container molecule' to stabilise white phosphorus indefinitely. This renders it safe until such time as a signal agent, benzene, is applied to release it.

The practical implications of the research are impressive: the technique of 'caging' individual molecules of the substance allows it to be manipulated and stored with greater safety, and has the potential to be used to tame other dangerous chemicals.

Dr Nitschke says: "It is foreseeable that our technique might be used to clean up a white phosphorus spill, either as part of an industrial accident or in a war zone. In addition to its ability to inflict grievous harm while burning, white phosphorus is very toxic and poses a major environmental hazard."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cambridge. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "White Phosphorous Can Be Safely Handled And Transported With New Technique, Researchers Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090625141452.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2009, July 5). White Phosphorous Can Be Safely Handled And Transported With New Technique, Researchers Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090625141452.htm
University of Cambridge. "White Phosphorous Can Be Safely Handled And Transported With New Technique, Researchers Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090625141452.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) — Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) — Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) — An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins