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Atomic Number: 82

Atomic Weight: 207.2

Melting Point: 600.61 K (327.46°C or 621.43°F)

Boiling Point: 2022 K (1749°C or 3180°F)

Density: 11.342 grams per cubic centimeter

Phase at Room Temperature: Solid

Element Classification: Metal

Period Number: 6 Group Number: 14 Group

Name: none

What's in a name? From the Anglo-Saxon word lead. Lead's chemical symbol comes from the
Latin word for waterworks, plumbum.

History and Uses:

Lead has been known since ancient times. It is sometimes found free in nature, but is usually
obtained from the ores galena (PbS), anglesite (PbSO4), cerussite (PbCO3) and minum
(Pb3O4). Although lead makes up only about 0.0013% of the earth's crust, it is not considered
to be a rare element since it is easily mined and refined. Most lead is obtained by roasting
galena in hot air, although nearly one third of the lead used in the United States is obtained
through recycling efforts.

Lead is a soft, malleable and corrosion resistant material. The ancient Romans used lead to
make water pipes, some of which are still in use today. Unfortunately for the ancient Romans,
lead is a cumulative poison and the decline of the Roman empire has been blamed, in part, on
lead in the water supply. Lead is used to line tanks that store corrosive liquids, such as sulfuric
acid (H2SO4). Lead's high density makes it useful as a shield against X-ray and gamma-ray
radiation and is used in X-ray machines and nuclear reactors. Lead is also used as a covering on
some wires and cables to protect them from corrosion, as a material to absorb vibrations and
sounds and in the manufacture of ammunition. Most of the lead used today is used in the
production on lead-acid storage batteries, such as the batteries found in automobiles.

Several lead alloys are widely used. Solder, an alloy that is nearly half lead and half tin, is a
material with a relatively low melting point that is used to join electrical components, pipes and
other metallic items. Type metal, an alloy of lead, tin and antimony, is a material used to make
the type used in printing presses and plates. Babbit metal, another lead alloy, is used to reduce
friction in bearings.