Lead: uses

The following uses for lead are gathered from a number of sources as well as from anecdotal comments. I'd be delighted to receive corrections as well as additional referenced uses (please use the feedback mechanism to add uses).

  • the metal and the dioxide are used in storage batteries
  • cable covering, plumbing, ammunition
  • manufacture of PbEt4 - an antiknock compound in petrol. Environmental concern with lead poisoning, (and cheaper unleaded petrol prices) is slowly resulting in less use of lead in petrol
  • the metal is very effective as a sound absorber
  • a radiation shield around X-ray equipment and nuclear reactors
  • used extensively in paints, although recently the use of lead in paints has been drastically curtailed to eliminate or reduce health hazards
  • the oxide is used in producing fine "crystal glass" and "flint glass" with a high refractive index for achromatic lenses
  • solder
  • used by the Romans for plumbing (the decline of the Roman empire is attributed to lead in the water supply!)
  • used to contain corrosive liquids
  • alloying
  • cable covering
  • ammunition
  • shield against X-rays
  • oxide used to produce crystal glass
  • insecticides

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