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March 7 2012 4 07 /03 /March /2012 15:59

Lead is a unique metal to dissolve as its chloride and sulfate are relatively insoluble. Therefore, hydrochloric and sulfuric acids are not the ideal choice for dissolving lead.

 

Sulfuric acid: Sulfuric acid dissolution of lead does not work without an electric potential, such as that occurring in a lead-acid battery.

 

Hydrochloric acid: Lead dissolves extremely slowly in hydrochloric acid. In warm hydrochloric acid, it dissolves very slowly (a minor improvement) and crystals of lead(II) chloride are precipitated when the solution is cooled. Even the addition of hydrogen peroxide does not help much.

 

Acetic acid: The ancient Romans used this method. Acetic acid placed in lead pots and exposed to the air for several months created lead acetate. This is a very slow method.

 

Acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide: Besides nitric acid, this seems to be the best and safest method for dissolving lead, if anything regarding lead can be safe. The lead dissolves quite quickly, especially if the acetic acid is boiled down. This dissolution is occurring in a 1:1 mixture of 5% acetic acid and 3% hydrogen peroxide. The dissolution is very rapid when the dilution of the solutions are accounted for.

 

Lead-dissolving-in-HAc---H2O2.JPG

 

Nitric acid: This dissolution is the best, but nitric acid is hard to obtain. Soluble lead nitrate will be obtained and nitrogen dioxide fumes will be given off. Since I do not have nitric acid, I cannot do this method.

 

Electrolytic oxidation: A lead anode connected to a power supply and placed in a sodium chloride solution should produce a large amount of lead chloride. A sodium bicarbonate solution is probably better as the basic carbonate will be formed, which can be dissolved in a variety of acids to form the corresponding lead salts. Be careful with halogen release; when I electrolytically oxidized lead in sodium bromide, bromine was formed as an intermediate, producing a stink during the electrolysis. The lead soon absorbed the bromine and formed pale white insoluble lead bromide.

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Published by LanthanumK - in Experiments
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