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Teaching phase diagrams of sulphur and phosphorus
Issue Date: 
Teaching and Learning, 4(1)18-25
In the currently used textbooks and reference books for General Certificate of Education Advanced Level Chemistry, the
phase diagrams of sulphur and phosphorusare given directly with brief explanations. However, many students are found to be not
confident in the interpretation and application of phase diagrams. This lack of confidence could be due to an insufficient
understanding of how the phase diagrams are constructed.
In general, students can understand how a phase diagram of a simple, single component system is established from the vapour
pressure-temperature curves of the substance. If students can further appreciate and apply the above-mentioned principle and relationships to the case of sulphur and phosphorus, a better
comprehension of the phase diagrams will be achieved. Investigating the phase diagrams of sulphur and phosphorus closely, we can recognise certain patterns. Each of these phase diagrams can be considered to include the overlapping of two simple phase diagrams of single components.
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