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White phosphorus on reaction with $\text{NaOH}$ gives $\text{PH}_3$ as one of the products. What type of a reaction is this?

$\begin{array}{1 1} Dimerization \\ Disproportionation \\ Precipitation \\ Condensation \end{array}$
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Answer: Disproportionation Reaction
The reaction is: $\text{P}_4 + 3\text{OH}^{-} + 3\text{H}_2\text{O} \rightarrow \text{PH}_3 + 3\text{H}_2\text{PO}_{2}^{-}$
The oxidation state of phosphorus in $\text{P}_4, \text{PH}_3 \text{H}_2\text{PO}_{2}$ are $0, -3$ and $+1$ respectively which means that the reaction is a disproportionation reaction.
answered Jul 14, 2014 by balaji.thirumalai
 

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