L for Lead

Lead’s chemical symbol is Pb (plumbum nigrum), which comes from its Latin name. Our name for the element comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for the metal, ‘lead’.  Lead has been known since ancient times. We do not know who discovered it. Its ores are widely distributed and it has a low melting point so it is easily smelted. It was used in antiquity to make statues, coins, utensils and writing tablets. The Romans also used lead for plumbing.

Large quantities of lead, both as the metal and as the dioxide, are used in storage batteries.

Lead is also used in cable covering, as ammunition, as electrodes, in solder and as roofing material.

The metal is used as shielding from radiation, e.g. in x-ray rooms and nuclear reactors.

Lead oxide is also used in the manufacture of fine crystal glass.

Historically, lead was used in plumbing.

Tetraethyl lead was used as an anti-knock agent in petrol, and as an additive in paints. These uses have been reduced recently because of environmental concerns about cumulative lead poisoning.

References : chemcool.com


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