R 265 at 15° C., possessing a somewhat sweet taste; below o° C. it solidifies to a white crystalline mass, which melts at 17° C. When heated alone it partially volatilizes, but the greater part decomposes; under a pressure of 12 mm.
The oxychloride, bromides, and other compounds were subsequently discovered; here we need only notice Moissan's preparation of the trifluoride and Thorpe's discovery of the pentafluoride, a compound of especial note, for it volatilizes unchanged, giving a vapour of normal density and so demonstrating the stability of a pentavalent phosphorus compound (the pentachloride and pentabromide dissociate into a molecule of the halogen element and phosphorus trichoride).
This artifice is specially valuable when the substance decomposes or volatilizes in a warm current of carbon dioxide.
It forms a white silky mass which volatilizes at about 400° C. It deliquesces in moist air, and is decomposed violently by water.
In the oxyhydrogen flame silver boils, forming a blue vapour, while platinum volatilizes slowly, and osmium, though infusible, very readily.