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(inorganic chemistry)
PH3 Poisonous, colorless, spontaneously flammable gas with garlic aroma; soluble in alcohol, slightly soluble in cold water; boils at -85°C; used in organic reactions. Also known as hydrogen phosphide; phosphoretted hydrogen.



(also hydrogen phosphide), PH3, a colorless gas with the odor of rotten fish. Phosphine has a density of 1.55 g/liter, a melting point of –133.8°C, and a boiling point of – 87.8°C at 25°C and a pressure of 0.1 meganewton/m2 (1 kilogram-force/cm2); 1 volume of water dissolves approximately 0.25 volume of PH3. When heated, phosphine decomposes into phosphorus and hydrogen. The chemical properties of phosphine are somewhat similar to those of ammonia; the compound forms phosphonium salts, for example, PH4I. Phosphine is a strong reducing agent. It ignites in air at temperatures above 100°C; in the presence of a small amount of diphosphine vapor, it ignites spontaneously to form a white smoke—phosphorus pentoxide. Mixtures of PH3 and oxygen are explosive (the reaction proceeding by a chain mechanism).

Phosphine (with P2H4 vapors present as an impurity) is produced by the reaction of calcium phosphide (Ca3P2) with water; by heating white phosphorus with a caustic alkali solution (the method used by the French chemist P. Gengembre, who in 1783 was the first to produce phosphine); by thermal decomposition of phosphorous or hypophosphorous acid; and by the reaction of alkalies with phosphonium halides. PH3 is invariably formed during the electrothermal production of white phosphorus from phosphates.

PH3 is exceedingly toxic. In the event of poisoning, the victim must be exposed to fresh air and given artificial respiration.

Also known are self-igniting diphosphine (P2H4; boiling point, 56°C) and a solid form of the compound, the structure of which has not been determined.

References in periodicals archive ?
August 12, 2011 - Raghavendra Shivaji, a 33-year-old Indian IT sales manager died after he inhaling phosphine fumes used in a neighbouring apartment.
This fumigation treatment was conducted over 24 hours and contained 500 ppm of phosphine at 5[degrees]C.
EPA improperly selected its uncertainty factors for the phosphine risk assessment based on the analysis done by Sciences International.
Oxygen concentrations must also be checked as oxygen may be displaced during fumigation, and the Custodian personal gas monitor can monitor levels of both phosphine and oxygen.
exported grain was fumigated with phosphine and more than 93% of that fumigation was required contractually by the buyers -- regardless of insect infestation in the shipment.
Synthesis of other poly(arylene ether phosphine oxide)s based on 4,4[prime]-bis(fluorophenyl)methyl phosphine oxide (BFPMPO).
Ligand families covered in this book include phosphine, diphosphine, phosphite, diphosphite, phosphoramidite, phosphonite, phosphinite, phosphole, phosphinine, phosphinidenene, phosphaalkenes, phosphaalkynes, P-chiral ligands, and cage ligands.
Abdull Gadder Al Amri, Director of Forensic Laboratory of Sharjah Police, said that they collected sample from the apartment and tested it in the laboratory, which revealed it is aluminum phosphide which produce phosphine gas that leaks through openings.
According to local press reports, in the past years, there have been 10 cases of poison and suffocation in Jeddah due to the toxin phosphine.
Though larger-scale aeration studies are needed, "One benefit could be reduced reliance on the fumigant phosphine for control of insect pest populations," Arthur and Casada write in a paper currently in press in Applied Engineering and Agriculture.
Ajman Police have told Al Hassan Ali Bakir, the Palestinian father of the boys - two of triplets - that new forensic tests yielded notable traces of phosphine gas in the boys' blood.
Palladium catalyzed coupling reactions using water-soluble phosphine ligands: DTBPSP and DAPSP and their ability to promote Suzuki-Miryaura, Heck, Sonagashira, and Carbonylation reactions.