We explain what lead is and the different properties of this chemical element. In addition, its uses and where it can be found.
What is lead?
The lead is a chemical symbol element Pb (from the Latin plumbum ) and atomic number 82 in the Periodic Table. It is a very particular metallic element, given its enormous flexibility and chemical reaction capacity, of enormous use in human industries.
The lead was discovered early by mankind and long used in the manufacture of weapons, tools and artistic objects. Given its elastic properties, it was used in writing sheets, as coating of pipes and bathtubs, or in the manufacture of masks, medallions, etc.
In its common state, the lead is a solid, heavy, heavy, bluish-gray metal, with various colors. topes (stable and radioactive) and high levels of toxicity. The latter has questioned their use in various fields, such as plumbing, since this element is absorbs in various ways and causes specific damage of the neurotoxic, renal, cardiovascular, hematological and gastrointestinal type.
See also: Lithium.
Lead is a flexible element that melts very easily (it melts at 327.4 C and adem s hierve a at 1725 C), whose usual valences are 2 and 4 It is partially resistant to sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid, and is capable of resisting the passage of subathemic particles emitted by radioactive material (reason why which is used to store these toxic materials).
Lead has a high reactivity, which allows its use in various compounds, such as lead tetraethyl or lead silicates, or in various possible alloys.
Uses of lead
Lead is extremely useful in human industries. It was used extensively in the manufacture of pipes, ducts and other home spare parts, although for some time it has been replaced by other metals to avoid its consequences on human health. The same is done with containers for radioactive material and other hazardous chemicals, or even as a coating for electrical connections.
Other uses of lead contemplate it as an ingredient for the manufacture of ceramics, plastics and alloys for welding. The military armament ammunition and the contacts of the accumulators (batteries) are also manufactured with lead . It was used (no longer) as an anti-knock in gasoline and as an attenuation layer for sound waves, mechanical vibrations and ionizing radiation.
Where is the lead?
Lead is relatively abundant in the earth's crust, although never in its elemental state. It is commonly found in the earth's crust as lead sulfide, part of the mineral known as galena.
It is common to find lead in the form of phosphates (pyromorphite), carbonates (cerussite), sulfates (anglesite) and numerous oxides. It is also possible to find it as a consequence of the natural degradation of radioactive materials, so it is common that it is associated with uranium (U) and thorium (Th).