Essay on The Was Discovered By The German Alchemist Hennig Brandt

1338 Words Nov 9th, 2015 null Page
Phosphorus was discovered by the German alchemist Hennig Brandt, in 1669. In a surely arduous process, Brandt heated and processed 50 to 60 buckets, per experiment, of urine until he isolated a substance he named ‘light-bearer’ or phosphorus. Each of these experiments could take two weeks. He would let these buckets of urine stand until they ‘bred worms’. Brandt would then boil the urine with sand, and this is how he distilled elemental phosphorus. This discovery is also notable, aside from discovering phosphorus of course, because this was the first time we had discovered an element not known to ancient peoples. Brandt, also called the last alchemist, kept it a secret, thinking he had found something that could change base metals into gold, otherwise known as the Philosopher 's Stone. Depending on the source, the story splits a bit here. Some say that when Brandt ran low on funds, he sold phosphorus to Johann Daniel Kraft, who showed it around Europe. Others say he was uninterested in fame or fortune, and simply gave away phosphorus. Independent of that bit of folklore, for 100 years phosphorus was made in the fashion Brandt had created, processing urine, until it was discovered that bone is calcium phosphate. In the 1800’s James Burgess Readman created the method we use today, using an electric furnace and phosphate rock.

Not an incredible amount can be said about phosphorus as a whole, owing to the extreme differences between it’s allotropes. A few things do hold true…

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