Lead is a chemical element – a problem that consists of only one form of atom. Its main chemical prize is Pb, and its atom number is 82, which method that a lead atom has actually 82 protons in that nucleus. Lead has actually the highest atomic number of any stable (non-radioactive) element. That is a dense, heavy metal – yet it is soft and can be shaped and also stretched without breaking.

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Lead’s chemical symbol – Pb – comes from the Latin indigenous plumbum. The Roman realm used result in make waterpipes, so the word plumbum was linked with systems that lugged water right into buildings. Today, we speak to this plumbing and also those who work with it plumbers.

A similar word, plumbago, additionally has one association with lead and also it has caused misconceptions for centuries. Plumbago (also known as black color lead) is in reality graphite. The soft black color substance in your wooden pencil has actually never been made that lead.

Metals of antiquity

Lead is one of the seven metals of antiquity – metals that people identified and also used in ancient times. The other metals of antiquity are gold, silver, copper, tin, iron and also mercury. Each metal was associated with among the seven known celestial bodies. Gold, for example, was connected with the Sun as result of its colour and value. Lead to be the least desirable of the ancient metals because of its dull grey colour and also heaviness, so the was linked with Saturn – the the furthest of the well-known planets.


Fast forward to the middle Ages, and lead became an item of good interest come alchemists. Alchemy was a mix that chemistry and philosophy that sought to revolve lead into gold. Alchemists believed that all metals were do of the same substance, yet metals prefer lead to be spiritually and also physically immature forms of the higher metals. Through refinement, lead could end up being spiritually perfect as with gold. Also famous scientists prefer Sir Isaac Newton dabbled in alchemy.


It this era of modern science, the historic mix the science, philosophy and also religion may show up unusual. Every scientific expertise is developed within a larger society and culture. The tentative scientific expertise of ancient and timeless civilisations was affected by social aspects of the time. As new information was discovered, the old means of reasoning were discarded.


Uses of lead

Lead is usually discovered as one ore – in mix with other elements such as silver. This kind of ore has actually a short melting point so it was reasonably easy to smelt, and also lead came to be a byproduct the the much more valuable silver. Humans have been making items from command for approximately 9,000 years. The old Egyptians and also Greeks supplied lead in cosmetics, glass and enamels. Other beforehand civilisations used lead to make coins, as a composing material and for medicinal purposes.


During the center Ages, lead was generally used in roofing and also piping as result of its malleability and also durability. In 1160, home builders used 182 tonnes of thin lead panels to cover the roof that Notre Dame Cathedral, and later 680 tonnes got in its spire. Command was likewise a vital component in the construction of firearms and also printing presses. Lead production increased during the Industrial revolution due come a growing demand because that lead paints and plumbing.

Some old uses of lead continue today – weights, roofing materials, beer-selection.coman pipes and also sculptures. Other provides are more modern – radiation shields in medical X-ray rooms and nuclear scientific research labs and in lead-acid batteries.


Lead theatre a component in protecting important brand-new Zealand structures like the Museum of brand-new Zealand car Papa Tongarewa. The buildings use base isolators to defend them during an earthquake. The lead main point deforms throughout an earthquake, absorbing some the the energy, and also then reverts to its initial shape.


Concerns around lead poisoning

It was during the Industrial transformation that medical professionals noticed illness like gout were much more commonly found in painters and also plumbers 보다 in the rest of the population. Various other health worries – including blindness, anaemia and kidney and mind damage – persuaded officials to create laws that decreased the public’s exposure to lead. In brand-new Zealand, lead was eliminated from every but plainly labelled special-purpose paints in 1965 and banned from petrol in 1996.

The helpful links ar at the end of this post has information about lead poisoning, treatment and prevention.

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Science and culture can have differing views on one issue. As soon as it was proposed to add lead come petrol in the 1920s, scientists advised that it would be dangerous to people and also the environment. The desire for cheaper fuel and also safer dare prevailed, and lead was added. As scientific evidence on the risks of lead grew, public intolerance of lead additionally grew, and also leaded petrol was banned.