Pure phosphorus comes in a variety of different forms, differentiated by colours produced by the different ways the atoms can be arranged. There is white phosphorus also described as yellow , red, violet, black — and most recently pink has been added to the list. The discovery was made by the alchemist Hennig Brandt who was boiling his own urine in search of gold I kid you not.
After days of heating up litres of stagnant pee, Hennig managed to isolate a white, waxy solid, which was probably something of a disappointment after his long and olfactorily-challenging work.
But his mood must have perked up when it got dark and he observed that this newly-created substance glowed with an eerie green light. There are two problems with this. The second problem is the flammability of white phosphorus.
The person who lay afterwards in the bed, waking at night and feeling more than ordinary heat, perceived that the coverlet was on fire. The ease with which phosphorus and some of its compounds will catch fire has led to suggestions that it might be the cause of spontaneous human combustion. Microbes have been found to be able to convert ordinary phosphates in food into highly reactive phosphine chemicals that can spontaneously combust when exposed to the air.
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The highly flammable phosphorus-based compounds have been found in human and animal faeces, but in tiny quantities. Although this is a theoretically possible explanation for spontaneous human combustion it is extremely unlikely to be true. The problems of flammability sank any hope of using white phosphorus for indoor lighting but it opened up another possibility: matches.
Darkside: Waking the Dead
Using white phosphorus for match heads meant that a flame could be produced with only the slightest heat from friction. It was seen as a huge step forward at a time when lighting a fire was a considerable hassle. Phosphorus-laden strike-anywhere matches were produced in the nineteenth century by the billion. Racks of sticks twice the length of a matchstick when then dipped either side and allowed to dry before the sticks were chopped in half.
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Required Cookies These cookies allow you to explore OverDrive services and use our core features. It's a journey that will force James to confront his own conscience as he struggles with his burgeoning powers, and the realization of just what it might mean to live forever. After all, being dead isn't nearly as much fun as it looks.
Perry is a Sgt currently serving in his 33rd year in the Canadian Forces. Steve doesn't like violence; he's just really good at.
Waking the Dead
He has a lovely wife, two great kids, and a house full of teddy bears that totally put lie to his tough guy image. When no one is looking he's also a drummer in a rock band, and holds black belts in seven different martial arts. His plan is to one day be independently wealthy, or even dependently wealthy--he doesn't really care whose money it is as long as they let him spend it.
He has written 5 books to date and plans to write more, unless someone pays him enough to stop. Customer Reviews Average Review. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book!
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