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Key People:Georg Raphael Donner...(Show more)Related Topics:Lead processingLead-207Mississippi Valley type depositCommon leadLead-206...(Show more)

Lead (Pb), a soft, silvery white or grayish metal in group 14 (IVa) that the regular table. Lead is very malleable, ductile, and dense and also is a negative conductor of electricity. Well-known in antiquity and believed by the alchemists to it is in the earliest of metals, lead is very durable and resistant to corrosion, as is suggested by the proceeding use of lead water pipes mounted by the ancient Romans. The price Pb because that lead is one abbreviation of the Latin word for lead, plumbum.

Element Propertiesatomic numberatomic weightmelting pointboiling pointdensityoxidation stateselectron configuration
327.5 °C (621.5 °F)
1,744 °C (3,171.2 °F)
11.29 gram/cm3 at 20 °C (68 °F)
+2, +4
4f145d106s26p2 or 1s22s22p63s23p63d104s24p64d104f145s25p65d106s26p2

Occurrence and distribution

Lead is mentioned often in beforehand biblical accounts. The Babylonians used the metal as key on i beg your pardon to document inscriptions. The Romans provided it because that tablets, water pipes, coins, and even cooking utensils; indeed, together a an outcome of the critical use, lead poisoning was recognized during Augustus Caesar. The compound known as white lead to be apparently prepared as a decorate pigment at the very least as at an early stage as 200 bce. Contemporary developments date to the exploitation in the late 1700s of store in the Missouri-Kansas-Oklahoma area in the unified States.


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On a load basis, lead has almost the very same abundance in earth crust as tin. Cosmically, over there is 0.47 lead atom per 106 silicon atoms. The cosmic abundance is equivalent to those of cesium, praseodymium, hafnium, and also tungsten, each of i beg your pardon is regarded as a fairly scarce element.

Although lead is not abundant, herbal concentration processes have actually resulted in substantial deposits of advertisement significance, specifically in the United claims but additionally in Canada, Australia, Spain, Germany, Africa, and also South America. Far-ranging deposits are uncovered in the United says in the western states and the Mississippi valley. Hardly ever found totally free in nature, lead is current in numerous minerals, however all space of minor significance except the sulfide, PbS (galena, or lead glance), which is the major source the lead manufacturing throughout the world. Command is also found in anglesite (PbSO4) and cerussite (PbCO3). Through the early 21st century, China, Australia, the unified States, Peru, Mexico, and India to be the world’s top producers of command in concentrate.

Lead might be extracted by roasting the ore and also then smelting that in a blast furnace or by direct smelting there is no roasting. Additional refining gets rid of impurities present in the lead bullion produced by either process. Almost half of all sleek lead is recovered from recycle scrap. (For advertisement production, see command processing.)

Uses of the metal

Only a solitary crystalline modification, with a close-packed metallic lattice, is known. Properties that room responsible because that the countless uses of element lead incorporate its ductility, lull of welding, low melting point, high density, and ability to absorb gamma radiation and also X-radiation. Molten lead is fantastic solvent and also collector for elemental silver and also gold. The structure applications of lead are restricted by its short tensile and fatigue strengths and also its propensity to flow also when just lightly loaded.

When freshly cut, lead oxidizes quickly, creating a dull gray coating, formerly thought to be lead suboxide, Pb2O, yet now recognized as a mixture of lead and also lead monoxide, PbO, i beg your pardon protects the steel from further corrosion. Similarly, although lead is dissolve in dilute nitric acid, that is only superficially assaulted by hydrochloric or sulfuric acids since the insoluble chloride (PbCl2) or sulfate (PbSO4) coatings the are developed prevent continued reaction. As such general chemical resistance, considerable quantities of command are provided in roofing, together coverings for electrical cables inserted in the soil or underwater, and as linings for water pipes and also conduits and structures for the transportation and processing that corrosive substances.

Elemental lead can also be oxidized to the Pb2+ ion through hydrogen ions, yet the insolubility of many salts of Pb2+ makes lead resistant to attack by numerous acids. Oxidation under alkaline problems is easier to effect and also is favoured by the formation of the soluble species of command in the +2 oxidation state. Command oxide (PbO2, v lead together the Pb4+ ion) is among the more powerful oxidizing agents in acidic solution, yet it is comparatively weak in alkaline solution. The lull of oxidation of lead is amplified by facility formation. The electrodeposition of lead is best effected from aqueous options containing lead hexafluorosilicate and hexafluorosilicic acid.

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Lead has many other applications, the largest of i m sorry is in the produce of warehouse batteries. The is provided in ammunition (shot and bullets) and also as a ingredient of solder, form metal, bearing alloys, fusible alloys, and pewter. In heavy and also industrial machinery, sheets and other parts made from command compounds might be offered to dampen noise and vibration. Since lead properly absorbs electromagnetic radiation of quick wavelengths, the is offered as a protective shielding around nuclear reactors, bit accelerators, X-ray equipment, and containers provided for transporting and storing radioactive materials. Along with the compound lead oxide (PbO2) and also with lead-antimony or lead-calcium alloys, that is employed in usual storage batteries.