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Phosphorus vs. Phosphoric Acid: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sara Rehman || Published on December 26, 2023
Phosphorus is a reactive, non-metallic chemical element, while phosphoric acid is a derivative acid formed when phosphorus reacts with oxygen and hydrogen.

Key Differences

Phosphorus is a chemical element, symbolized as P, essential for life and used in various industrial applications. Phosphoric acid, H3PO4, is a weak acid derived from phosphorus, commonly used in agriculture and food industry.
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023
In its elemental form, phosphorus is reactive and exists in several allotropic forms, including white and red phosphorus. Phosphoric acid, on the other hand, is a stable compound widely used as an additive and a cleaning agent.
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023
Phosphorus plays a vital role in biological systems, especially in DNA and energy transfer. Phosphoric acid is important in biochemistry too, particularly in the formation of ATP, the energy currency of cells.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 26, 2023
Industrially, phosphorus is used in the production of fertilizers, detergents, and pesticides. Phosphoric acid finds extensive use in the preparation of phosphate fertilizers and as a flavoring agent in beverages.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023
The extraction of phosphorus is primarily from phosphate rocks, while phosphoric acid is produced by reacting sulfuric acid with phosphate rock.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Chemical Nature

Non-metallic element
Weak acid
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

Symbol/Form

P, various allotropes
H3PO4, liquid
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

Uses

Fertilizers, detergents, pesticides
Food additive, fertilizer, cleaner
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

Biological Role

Vital in DNA, energy transfer
Part of ATP, cell metabolism
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

Production Source

Extracted from phosphate rocks
Produced from phosphorus and sulfuric acid
Harlon Moss
Dec 26, 2023
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Phosphorus and Phosphoric Acid Definitions

Phosphorus

It exists in several allotropic forms, including white and red.
Red phosphorus is used on the striking surface of matchboxes.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

Phosphoric Acid

Produced by reacting sulfuric acid with phosphate rock.
The production of phosphoric acid is vital for fertilizer manufacturing.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a reactive chemical element with the symbol P.
Phosphorus is a key component in plant fertilizers.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

Phosphoric Acid

It is derived from phosphorus and used in agriculture and food industry.
Phosphoric acid is a key ingredient in some soft drinks.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is essential in biological processes like DNA synthesis.
The role of phosphorus in DNA structure is fundamental.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

Phosphoric Acid

Commonly used as a flavoring agent and a cleaning agent.
Phosphoric acid effectively removes rust and mineral deposits.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is extracted from phosphate rocks for commercial use.
Mining phosphate rocks is the primary source of phosphorus.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Phosphoric Acid

It plays a role in biochemistry, especially in energy transfer.
ATP contains phosphoric acid as part of its structure.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

Phosphorus

It is used industrially in manufacturing fertilizers and detergents.
The phosphorus industry is critical for agricultural productivity.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Phosphoric Acid

Phosphoric acid is a weak acid with the chemical formula H3PO4.
Phosphoric acid is used to adjust the pH in beverages.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

FAQs

What are the allotropes of phosphorus?

Mainly white and red phosphorus.
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

Is phosphorus found in living organisms?

Yes, it's essential in biological processes like DNA synthesis.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023

What role does phosphoric acid play in biochemistry?

It's part of ATP, essential for energy transfer in cells.
Harlon Moss
Dec 26, 2023

What is phosphorus?

A reactive chemical element used in various applications like fertilizers.
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

Can phosphorus be dangerous?

Yes, especially white phosphorus due to its high reactivity.
Janet White
Dec 26, 2023

What is phosphoric acid used for?

In food industry, agriculture, and as a cleaning agent.
Janet White
Dec 26, 2023

How is phosphoric acid produced industrially?

By reacting sulfuric acid with phosphate rock.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023

How is phosphoric acid formed?

By reacting phosphorus with oxygen and hydrogen.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 26, 2023

How is phosphorus obtained?

Mainly from mining phosphate rocks.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023

What are industrial uses of phosphorus?

In producing fertilizers, detergents, and pesticides.
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

Why is phosphorus important in agriculture?

It's a key nutrient for plant growth.
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

Can phosphoric acid be used in cleaning?

Yes, it's effective in removing rust and mineral deposits.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023

Is phosphoric acid safe for consumption?

In regulated amounts, it's safe as a food additive.
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

What is the chemical formula of phosphoric acid?

H3PO4.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023

Are there health concerns with phosphoric acid?

Excessive consumption can lead to health issues like osteoporosis.
Harlon Moss
Dec 26, 2023

What precautions are needed when handling phosphorus?

It requires careful handling due to its reactivity, especially white phosphorus.
Sara Rehman
Dec 26, 2023

What is red phosphorus used for?

In safety matches and certain pyrotechnics.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023

Can phosphoric acid be replaced in industrial applications?

Alternatives exist, but its efficiency and cost-effectiveness are often unmatched.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023

How does phosphorus impact the environment?

Overuse in agriculture can lead to water pollution.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023

Is phosphoric acid found in nature?

Not commonly, it's usually industrially produced.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 26, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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