Phosphorus Consuming

This subcategory involves phosphoric acid (dry process), phosphorus pentoxide, phosphorus pentasulfide, phosphorus trichloride, and phosphorus oxychloride. In the standard dry process for phosphoric acid production, liquid phosphorus is burned in the air, the resulting gaseous phosphorus pentaoxide is absorbed and hydrated in a water spray, and the mist is collected with an electrostatic precipitator. Regardless of the process variation, phosphoric acid is made with the consumption of water and no aqueous wastes are generated by the process.

Solid anhydrous phosphorus pentaoxide is manufactured by burning liquid phosphorus in an excess of dried air in a combustion chamber and condensing the vapor in a roomlike structure. Condensed phosphorus pentaoxide is mechanically scraped from the walls using moving chains and is discharged from the bottom of the barn with a screw conveyor. Phosphorus pentasulfide is manufactured by directly reacting phosphorus and sulfur, both in liquid form, in a highly exothermic batch operation. Because the reactants and products are highly flammable at the reaction temperature, the reactor is continuously purged with nitrogen and a water seal is used in the vent line.

Phosphorus trichloride is manufactured by loading liquid phosphorus into a jacketed batch reactor. Chlorine is bubbled through the liquid, and phosphorus trichloride is refluxed until all the phosphorus is consumed. Cooling water is used in the reactor jacket and care is taken to avoid an excess of chlorine and the resulting formation of phosphorus pentachloride. Phosphorus oxychloride is manufactured by the reaction of phosphorus trichloride, chlorine, and solid phosphorus pentaoxide in a batch operation. Liquid phosphorus trichloride is loaded to the reactor, solid phosphorus pentoxide added, and chlorine bubbled through the mixture. Steam is

Figure 2 Standard phosphorus process flow diagram (from Ref. 8).

supplied to the reactor jacket, water to the reflux condenser is shut off, and the product is distilled over and collected.

Because phosphorus is transported and stored under a water blanket, phossy water is a raw waste material at phosphorus-consuming plants. Another source of phossy wastewater results when reactor contents (containing phosphorus) are dumped into a sewer line due to operator error, emergency conditions, or inadvertent leaks and spills.

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