Phosphorus pentoxide is an anhydride of phosphoric acid, which is produced by combustion of elemental phosphorus in the presence of sufficient air. It exists in white crystalline solid form. It acts as powerful dehydrating and desiccant agent because of exothermic nature of its hydrolysis. Formation of phosphorus pentoxide by dehydration of phosphoric acid is not possible, as the acid would keep boiling without losing all the water.
Phosphorus pentoxide is inflammable. However, it reacts strongly with water and water-containing substances such as wood or cotton, releasing high amount of heat that may cause fire. It causes metals corrosion. Also, it causes irritation of tissue such as severe burns to skin, eyes, respiratory tracts, and mucous membrane even in low concentrations.
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Phosphorus pentoxide is primarily employed in the formation of concentrated phosphoric acid with varying grades of concentrations. Two steps in thermal process of obtaining concentrated phosphoric acid are – phosphorus pentoxide is formed by burning white phosphorus and followed by dissolving it in dilute phosphoric acid. Advances are being made to avoid the usage of white phosphorus as a starting material in formation of phosphoric acid, which is leading to the technology of "wet phosphoric acid process" which will replace thermal process.
Phosphorus pentoxide is employed as a dehydrating agent in reactions that require removal of water molecules (e.g. conversion of primary amides into nitriles). It is also used as starting material for phosphate esters (used as extraction agents and surfactants) and reagent for polymerization reaction and organic synthesis. Furthermore, it is employed in the manufacture of optical glass and heat-insulating glass; and production of certain phosphorus pentoxide containing fertilizers and pesticides.
Phosphorus Pentoxide Market Trends
Phosphorus containing fertilizers, which are one of the applications of phosphorus pentoxide, are in high demand in agriculture sector. This is a major driver for phosphorus pentoxide market. Phosphorus is basic nutrient for plant growth. Crop yield is faster and greater with fertilizers that contain phosphorus. This is followed by its application as dehydrating agent in the foods & packing, organic synthesis reactions, pharmaceuticals, electronics and many manufacturing industries. The usage of phosphorus pentoxide varies significantly in the chemical industry due to its applications as laboratory reagent, starting or reagent material in synthesis processes, and in heat-insulating glass production.
Based on application, the phosphorous pentoxide market can be segmented into polyphosphoric acids, glass fabrication, drying (dehydrating) agent, phosphate esters, organic synthesis, fertilizers, etc.
Phosphorus Pentoxide Market: Region-wise Outlook
In terms of application in the agriculture sector, the phosphorus pentoxide market is led by North America and Latin America due to increasing demand for fertilizers in these regions, especially for phosphorus-based fertilizers. The phosphorus pentoxide market in Asia Pacific is expected to expand significantly due to the large scale consumption potential and increase in production capabilities. Demand for phosphorus pentoxide is high in developing countries such as China, which is the largest producer and consumer of phosphorus pentoxide in the world. However, the phosphorus pentoxide market in Asia Pacific is projected to expand at a sluggish pace as Indian government provides subsidies only on certain fertilizers. The phosphorus pentoxide market in Europe is leading in food industry and water treatment chemicals when compared to other end-user industry applications.
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Phosphorus Pentoxide Market: Key Players
Key players operating in the phosphorus pentoxide market include Special Materials Company, Tokyo Chemical Industry Co. Ltd., Fisher Scientific, Sciencelab.com Inc., Sigma-Aldrich Co. LLC, Honeywell International Inc, Acros Organics, Hubei Rison Chemical Co. Ltd, Changzhou Chuanlin Chemical Co. Ltd. and Prasol Chemicals Ltd.
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