Lead Bar

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Lead Bar
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This black heavy metallic bar is made of lead. When freshly broken, the surfaces appear shiny bright and silvery, but they soon turn to dark grey when exposed to air. This is due to oxidation. This metal is very soft (it can be scratched with a fingernail) and malleable and so easy to form into pipes and vessels, and for roofing – applications for which it is historically known. It’s relatively easy to extract from ores and as been widely exploited as a result. Because of its low melting point, lead has long been used in the art, particularly in the casting of sculptures. The grey patina which forms through oxidation on the outer layer of lead prevents sculptures from corrosion, making it a good choice of material particularly for works in outdoor spaces. The chemical symbol Pb derives from the Latin word, ‘plumbum’, a generic term meaning soft metals (words like ‘plumber’ and ‘plumbing’ also originate from this word). Due to its toxicity to the human nervous system, lead’s use today is much less widespread, but its uses remain broad. For example, lead is used: in the making of battery electrodes found in motor vehicles; in the keel of sailboats where high density and resistance to corrosion prevent tipping in strong winds; and it is the metal of choice for shielding radioactive exposure due to its high density.

Sample ID: 216


Chemical symbol
Corrosion | Malleability | Toxicity | Resistance | Plumbing

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