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

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Lead’s chemical symbol – Pb – comes from the Latin native plumbum. The Roman realm used cause make waterpipes, so the word plumbum was linked with equipment that lugged water into buildings. Today, we call this plumbing and those who occupational with that plumbers.

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

Metals the antiquity

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


Fast forward to the middle Ages, and lead became an item of great interest come alchemists. Alchemy was a mix the chemistry and also philosophy that sought to revolve lead right into gold. Alchemists thought that all steels were do of the exact same substance, but metals favor lead were spiritually and also physically immature creates of the higher metals. With refinement, lead could become spiritually perfect as with gold. Also famous scientists like Sir Isaac Newton dabbled in alchemy.


It this era of modern science, the historical mix of science, philosophy and religion may appear unusual. Every scientific expertise is developed within a larger society and culture. The tentative scientific knowledge of ancient and classic civilisations was influenced by cultural aspects the the time. As new information was discovered, the old ways of reasoning were discarded.


Uses that lead

Lead is usually uncovered as an ore – in mix with other elements such as silver. This form of ore has a low melting point so it was reasonably easy to smelt, and lead became a byproduct the the more valuable silver. Humans have been making item from lead for around 9,000 years. The ancient Egyptians and also Greeks supplied lead in cosmetics, glass and enamels. Other beforehand civilisations used bring about make coins, together a writing material and for medicinal purposes.


During the center Ages, lead was generally used in roofing and also piping because of its malleability and also durability. In 1160, builders used 182 tonnes of slim lead panels to cover the roof the Notre Dame Cathedral, and later 680 tonnes entered its spire. Lead was likewise a crucial component in the building of firearms and also printing presses. Lead production increased throughout the Industrial revolution due come a growing demand because that lead paints and also plumbing.

Some old uses that lead proceed today – weights, roofing materials, chrischona2015.organ pipes and sculptures. Other supplies are more contemporary – radiation shields in clinical X-ray rooms and nuclear scientific research labs and in lead-acid batteries.


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


Concerns about lead poisoning

It was throughout the Industrial change that doctors noticed illness like gout were an ext commonly uncovered 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 diminished the public’s exposure to lead. In new Zealand, command was eliminated from all but plainly labelled special-purpose paints in 1965 and banned native petrol in 1996.

The beneficial links ar at the end of this write-up has information regarding lead poisoning, treatment and also prevention.

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Science and society can have actually differing views on an issue. Once it to be proposed to include lead to petrol in the 1920s, scientists advised the it would be dangerous come people and also the environment. The desire because that cheaper fuel and also safer dare prevailed, and also lead to be added. As scientific evidence on the threats of command grew, public intolerance the lead also grew, and leaded petrol to be banned.