Jun 12, 2022
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Interesting Lead Facts


Welcome to our website, our dear readers. Lead is an element of the 14th group, the sixth period of the periodic table. The simple substance lead is a rather malleable and easily melting silvery metal with a slight bluish tint.

And today we decided to take a closer look at this metal. In the article we have collected the most interesting facts about lead.


Lead has been known to mankind since ancient times. However, we do not know who first discovered it. It gained popularity in antiquity due to its physical properties: it melts easily and is easily processed.


The most ancient object made of this metal is considered to be a figurine of a standing woman from the time of the first dynasty of Egypt. According to archaeologists, this figurine was made in the period from 3100 to 2900 BC. The figurine was discovered in Egypt in 1899, in the temple of Osiris.

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The Romans called lead “Plumbum nigrum”, which means “black lead”, to distinguish it from tin, which they called “Plumbum Album”, which translates as “white blue”.


It is a very dense (density 11.35 g/cm³) and corrosion resistant metal, but it is also extremely malleable.



It has a very low melting point, which is only 327.5 °C. For example, you can compare it with other metals: iron melts at 1,538 °C, copper at 1,083 °C, aluminum at 660 °C, and so on.


Freshly cut lead has a bluish-white hue. However, upon contact with oxygen, it begins to change its hue to a dull gray. In liquid form, it has a brilliant chrome-silver hue.


This is a very popular substance that is used in various industries (in the military, in medicine, in the fuel industry, etc.). However, by far, it has received the greatest application in the production of lead-acid batteries. The battery industry is the largest consumer of this metal.


It has one very unpleasant feature: in its pure form and in combination with other substances, it is toxic. Moreover, lead poisoning is chronic. For example, if it enters the body for a long time, it will accumulate in the bones (thus displacing calcium) and organs, causing serious disorders in the body.


It is a very rare element in the earth’s crust. Its percentage in the earth’s crust is about 0.0016%. In its pure form, it is quite rare. It is most commonly found in rocks (sedimentary to ultramafic intrusive). It is mainly found in the form of sulfides (PbS – lead luster).


In the ancient Greek city of Athens, the history of such a cosmetic product as cerussa originates. Cerussa is a lead-based cosmetic designed to lighten skin. And despite all the toxicity of cerussa, it was used in Europe until the 19th century. After all, this cosmetic product coped with its tasks perfectly. After applying cerussa, the skin became white as freshly fallen snow. The only drawback is the deterioration of the quality of the skin. And to hide it, women used even more cerussa.


We all know about the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, or as it is also called, the leaning tower. It was built in 1174 and gradually leaned more and more. In order to prevent its complete destruction, it was decided to strengthen its foundation. In 1993, 600 tons of lead were placed on a special platform and connected to the Tower, clasping it with hoops.



Lead is a very good shield against radiation, especially gamma and x-rays. This characteristic of a metal can be explained by many factors: its crystal structure, high density, atomic mass, etc.


Until the 1970s, tetraethyl lead was added to gasoline in the United States. It is a toxic and carcinogenic organometallic compound. Tetraethyl lead was added to gasoline in order to reduce its detonation properties and thereby increase the octane number. In 1972, the US Environmental Pollution Prevention Agency banned the use of this additive, as emissions from burning fuel caused significant environmental damage. Tetraethyl lead was also used in the USSR with Russia. In the USSR, fuel with tetraethyl lead was dyed in different colors: green, blue, orange. They got rid of this additive in Russia only in the early 2000s.


Thanks to the work of the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius, we know that the production of water pipes in ancient Rome was based mainly on the use of lead. But already knowing that this element is very poisonous, the question arises. Why didn’t the Romans get poisoned? The thing is that lead pipes are dangerous while they are new. Quite quickly, lead is covered with mineral scale (as in our kettles) and if the pipes are not disturbed by frequent repairs, then the water will not come into contact with lead and will not harm people.


During the Bronze Age, lead litharge was often added to wine. The thing is that at that time it was not known about sugar, so people used either honey or boiled sweet juices of some fruits. Lead litharge is lead oxide PbO. It can be obtained from lead powder mixed with sodium or potassium nitrate (popular as an agricultural fertilizer). Adding lead litharge to wine made it even sweeter. However, it was because of him that people were often poisoned, in particular, high-ranking people, who more often used wine during their meals.


Young children are especially vulnerable to this metal poisoning. Studies show that children absorb lead faster than adults.

This concludes our article, dear readers. Thank you for paying attention to our Internet resource.

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