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 July 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 July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) — Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) — Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) — The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
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