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British natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor Robert Boyle (1627 - 1691).


Arsenic sulfides and oxides were known since ancient times. Zosimos ( ca . 300 AD) describes roasting sandarach (realgar, α-As 4 S 4 ) to obtain cloud of arsenious oxide (As 2 O 3 ) that he reduced to metallic arsenic ( [link] ).

The distillation apparatus of Zosimos.


Antimony(III) sulfide, Sb 2 S 3 was known as early as 3000 BC. Pastes of Sb 2 S 3 powder in fat were used as eye cosmetics in the Middle East. An artifact made of antimony dating to about 3000 BC was found at Tello (part of present-day Iraq), and copper objects plated with antimony from 2500 - 2200 BC have been found in Egypt. The first European description of a procedure for isolating antimony is in the book De la pirotechnia by Vannoccio Biringuccio (1480 - 1539).


Since bismuth was known in ancient times, no one person is credited with its discovery. However, the French chemist Claude François Geoffroy (1729 - 1753) demonstrated in 1753 that this metal is distinct from lead and tin.


The abundance of the Group 15 elements is given in [link] .

Abundance of the Group 15 elements.
Element Terrestrial abundance (ppm)
N 25 (Earth’s crust), 5 (soil), 0.5 (sea water), 78 x 10 4 (atmosphere)
P 1000 (Earth’s crust), 0.65 (soil), 60 x 10 -3 (sea water), trace (atmosphere)
As 1.5 (Earth’s crust), 10 (soil), 16 x 10 -3 (sea water), trace (atmosphere)
Sb 0.2 (Earth’s crust), 1 (soil), 0.3 x 10 -3 (sea water)
Bi 48 x 10 -3 (Earth’s crust), 0.25 (soil), 400 x 10 -6 (sea water)


The naturally abundant isotopes of the Group 15 elements are listed in [link] .

Abundance of the non-synthetic isotopes of the Group 15 elements.
Isotope Natural abundance (%)
Nitrogen-14 99.634
Nitrogen-15 0.0366
Phosphorus-31 100
Arsenic-75 100
Antimony-121 57.36
Antimony-123 42.64
Bismuth-209 100%

Two radioactive isotopes of phosphorus ( 32 P and 33 P) have half-lives that make them useful for scientific experiments (14.262 and 25.34 days, respectively). 32 P is a β-emitter (1.71 MeV) and is used to produce radiolabeled DNA and RNA probes. Due to the high energy of the β particles which can penetrate skin and corneas, and because any 32 P ingested, inhaled, or absorbed is incorporated into bone and nucleic acids extreme care needs to be taken in handling. The lower energy β particles emitted from 33 P (0.25 MeV) make it useful for applications such as DNA sequencing.

While bismuth is traditionally regarded as the element with the heaviest stable isotope, 209 Bi, it had long been suspected to be unstable on theoretical grounds. In 2003 researchers at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay, France, measured the alpha emission half-life of 209 Bi to be 1.9 × 10 19 years, over a billion times longer than the current estimated age of the universe!

Industrial production of the elements

Nitrogen is the largest constituent of the Earth's atmosphere (78.082% by volume, 75.3% by weight). It is created by fusion processes in stars, and is estimated to be the 7 th most abundant element by mass in the universe. Industrial gas produced is by the fractional distillation of liquid air, or by mechanical means using gaseous air (i.e., pressurized reverse osmosis membrane or pressure swing adsorption). Commercial nitrogen is often a byproduct of air processing for industrial concentration of oxygen for steelmaking, etc.

Questions & Answers

explain and give four Example hyperbolic function
Lukman Reply
The denominator of a certain fraction is 9 more than the numerator. If 6 is added to both terms of the fraction, the value of the fraction becomes 2/3. Find the original fraction. 2. The sum of the least and greatest of 3 consecutive integers is 60. What are the valu
1. x + 6 2 -------------- = _ x + 9 + 6 3 x + 6 3 ----------- x -- (cross multiply) x + 15 2 3(x + 6) = 2(x + 15) 3x + 18 = 2x + 30 (-2x from both) x + 18 = 30 (-18 from both) x = 12 Test: 12 + 6 18 2 -------------- = --- = --- 12 + 9 + 6 27 3
2. (x) + (x + 2) = 60 2x + 2 = 60 2x = 58 x = 29 29, 30, & 31
on number 2 question How did you got 2x +2
combine like terms. x + x + 2 is same as 2x + 2
Mark and Don are planning to sell each of their marble collections at a garage sale. If Don has 1 more than 3 times the number of marbles Mark has, how many does each boy have to sell if the total number of marbles is 113?
mariel Reply
Mark = x,. Don = 3x + 1 x + 3x + 1 = 113 4x = 112, x = 28 Mark = 28, Don = 85, 28 + 85 = 113
how do I set up the problem?
Harshika Reply
what is a solution set?
find the subring of gaussian integers?
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Shirley Reply
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Abdullahi Reply
find the value of 2x=32
Felix Reply
divide by 2 on each side of the equal sign to solve for x
Want to review on complex number 1.What are complex number 2.How to solve complex number problems.
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use the y -intercept and slope to sketch the graph of the equation y=6x
Only Reply
how do we prove the quadratic formular
Seidu Reply
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Shirley Reply
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Tric Reply
x-2y+3z=-3 2x-y+z=7 -x+3y-z=6
Sidiki Reply
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Solve for the first variable in one of the equations, then substitute the result into the other equation. Point For: (6111,4111,−411)(6111,4111,-411) Equation Form: x=6111,y=4111,z=−411x=6111,y=4111,z=-411
x=61/11 y=41/11 z=−4/11 x=61/11 y=41/11 z=-4/11
Need help solving this problem (2/7)^-2
Simone Reply
what is the coefficient of -4×
Mehri Reply
the operation * is x * y =x + y/ 1+(x × y) show if the operation is commutative if x × y is not equal to -1
Alfred Reply
A soccer field is a rectangle 130 meters wide and 110 meters long. The coach asks players to run from one corner to the other corner diagonally across. What is that distance, to the nearest tenths place.
Kimberly Reply
Jeannette has $5 and $10 bills in her wallet. The number of fives is three more than six times the number of tens. Let t represent the number of tens. Write an expression for the number of fives.
August Reply
What is the expressiin for seven less than four times the number of nickels
Leonardo Reply
How do i figure this problem out.
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
why surface tension is zero at critical temperature
I think if critical temperature denote high temperature then a liquid stats boils that time the water stats to evaporate so some moles of h2o to up and due to high temp the bonding break they have low density so it can be a reason
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
waht is hydrating power of lithium carbonates
Mahar Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry of the main group elements. OpenStax CNX. Aug 20, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11124/1.25
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