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Phosphoric acid (H₃PO₄)

Phosphoric acid (H₃PO₄)

It is also used as a food additive, limescale and rust remover.



phosphoric acid, acid, acidity, trivalent acid, soft drink, phosphates, scale removal, inorganic chemistry, chemistry

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Phosphoric acid H₃PO₄


Molar mass: 94.97 g/mol

Melting point: 42.35 °C (108.23 °F)

Boiling point: 158 °C (316.4 °F)

Density: 1.685 g/cm³ (0.0609 lb/in³)


Phosphoric acid (or orthophosphoric acid) is a colorless, odorless, solid substance. It is a water soluble, hygroscopic compound and an acid of medium strength; that is, in an aqueous solution, it contains fewer hydronium ions than an aqueous solution of sulfuric acid of the same concentration. It reacts with alkalis; the salts formed during the reaction are called phosphates. It forms esters with organic compounds and is a constituent of nucleic acids.

Occurrence and production

It most commonly occurs naturally in the form of phosphorite and apatite. It is formed with the reaction of water and diphosphorus pentoxide produced by burning phosphorus.


In industry, it is used to flavor drinks and treat metals. Domestic uses include limescale and rust removal.

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Phosphate ion (PO₄³⁻)

A compound ion formed when a phosphoric acid molecule releases a proton.

The phosphorus cycle

The phosphorus cycle describes the movement of phosphorus through the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere.

White phosphorus (P₄)

One of the allotropes of phosphorus.


ATP is the main source of energy for cells.

Coenzyme A

An acyl-carrier coenzyme taking part in both anabolic and catabolic processes.


Carrier of genetic information in cells.


NAD⁺ is a coenzyme that plays an important role mainly in catabolic processes, while NADP is important in anabolic processes as hydrogen carriers.

Phosphorus pentoxide (P₂O₅)

A compound formed as white smoke during the combustion of phosphorus.

Red phosphorus

One of the allotropes of phosphorus.


A polynucleotid made up of phosphoric acid, ribose, and nucleobases (cytosine, uracil, adenine and guanine).

Phosphorus trichloride (PCl₃)

Colorless liquid that gives off smoke in moist air.

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