Nitrogen vs Phosphorus
Nitrogen and phosphorus are group V elements in the periodic table. Having the same valence shell electrons, they share some similar properties specially when making compounds. Both have the ns2 np3 valence shell electron configuration.
Nitrogen is the fourth most abundant element in our bodies. It is in the group 15 of the periodic table with the atomic number 7. Nitrogen is a non-metal, and its electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p3. The p orbital is half filled, giving nitrogen the capability to take three more electrons in order to achieve the stable noble gas configuration. Therefore, nitrogen is trivalent. Two nitrogen atoms can form a triple bond between them sharing three electrons form each. This diatomic molecule is in the gas phase at room temperature and forms a colorless, odorless, tasteless, inert gas. Nitrogen is a non flammable gas, therefore, do not support combustion. This is the highest containing gas in the earths’ atmosphere (about 78%). Naturally, there are two isotopes of nitrogen, N-14 and N-15. N-14 is more abundant having 99.6% abundance. At very low temperatures, nitrogen goes to the liquid state. It is similar to water in appearance, but the density is lower than water.
Nitrogen is widely used in chemical industries, and it is a vital component needed for living organisms. The most important commercial use of nitrogen is its use as a raw material for the ammonia, nitric acid, urea, and other nitrogen compounds production. These compounds may incorporate in fertilizers, because nitrogen is one of the major elements, which is needed for plant growth. Nitrogen is also used where an inert environment is needed, especially when doing chemical reactions. Liquid nitrogen is used for freezing things instantly and as a coolant in various devices (e.g. computers).
Phosphorus is the 15th element in the periodic table with the symbol P. It is also in the group 15 along with nitrogen and has a molecular weight of 31 g mol-1. The electron configuration of phosphorus is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p3. It is a multivalent atom and can form +3, +5 cations. Phosphorus has several isotopes, but P-31 is common with 100% abundance. P-32 and P-33 isotopes are radioactive and can emit pure beta particles. Phosphorus is very reactive, therefore, can’t present as a single atom. There are two major forms of phosphorus present in nature as white phosphorus and red phosphorus. White phosphorus has four P atoms arranged in tetrahedral geometry. White phosphorus is a pale yellow color transparent solid. It is highly reactive as well as highly toxic. Red phosphorus exists as polymer, and upon heating white phosphorus, this can be obtained. Other than white and red phosphorus, there is another type known as black phosphorus, and it has a structure that is similar to graphite.
What is the difference between Nitrogen and Phosphorus?
• Atomic number of nitrogen is 7, and 15 for phosphorus.
• Nitrogen is in the second period, whereas phosphorus is in the third period.
• Naturally nitrogen occurs as a diatomic gas, whereas phosphorus occurs in solid state.
• Phosphorus has the capability to make bonds until it has more than an octet in the valence shell. But nitrogen forms bonds until an octet is filled.