Lead Nitrate: Structure, Properties, Obtaining, Uses

The lead nitrate  or lead nitrate (II) is an inorganic compound consisting of the elements and lead (Pb), nitrogen (N) oxygen (O). Lead is found as the Pb 2+ ion and nitrogen and oxygen form the nitrate ion NO 3 .

Its chemical formula is Pb (NO 3 ) 2 . It is a white crystalline solid very soluble in water, where it forms the Pb 2+ and NO 3 ions . It is also known as plumbose nitrate because lead is in its lowest oxidation state.

Solid lead nitrate. Ondřej Mangl / Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

It has strongly oxidizing properties, which is why it is used in applications where this characteristic is required, such as in the preparation of various organic compounds and as a laboratory reagent.

In the past it was widely used to prepare lead-based dyes, where it also acted as a color fixer on fabrics. This application was abandoned due to lead toxicity.

It has been used in the metallurgical industry in various ways, and recently it has been found useful to form, together with other compounds, materials with high capacities for absorbing light and transforming it into electricity.

However, it is a dangerous substance because it can favor the generation of fires. It is also toxic to humans, animals and plants, so it should never be disposed of in the environment.

Article index

  • one

    Structure

  • two

    Nomenclature

  • 3

    Properties (edit)

    • 3.1

      Physical state

    • 3.2

      Molecular weight

    • 3.3

      Melting point

    • 3.4

      Density

    • 3.5

      Solubility

    • 3.6

      pH

    • 3.7

      Chemical properties

  • 4

    Obtaining

  • 5

    Applications

    • 5.1

      In organic synthesis

    • 5.2

      In chemical analysis

    • 5.3

      In the coloring of textile fibers

    • 5.4

      In veterinary medina

    • 5.5

      In the metal industry

    • 5.6

      In solar cells

    • 5.7

      Other apps

  • 6

    Risks

    • 6.1

      Fire and explosion

    • 6.2

      To health

    • 6.3

      For the natural environment

  • 7

    References

Structure

It is an ionic compound formed by a Pb 2+ cation and two NO 3 anions . In the nitrate anion the oxygens are arranged symmetrically around the nitrogen and the double bond alternates with it.

Structure of Pb (NO 3 ) 2 . Edgar181 / Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Spatial structure of Pb (NO 3 ) 2 . Gray = lead; blue = nitrogen; red = oxygen. Claudio Pistilli / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Lead in this compound has the following electronic configuration:

[Xe] 4 f 14 5 d 10 6 s 2 6 p 0 , where it is observed that it has lost the 2 electrons from the last shell.

Nomenclature

  • Lead nitrate
  • Lead (II) nitrate
  • Plumbous nitrate
  • Lead dinitrate

Properties (edit)

Physical state

White or colorless crystalline solid. Cubic crystals.

Molecular weight

331 g / mol

Melting point

470 ° C. According to some sources it decomposes at this temperature.

Density

4.53 g / cm 3

Solubility

Very soluble in water: 59.7 g / 100 mL of water at 25 ° C. Slightly soluble in ethanol. Insoluble in concentrated nitric acid (HNO 3 ).

pH

An aqueous solution with 20% Pb (NO 3 ) 2 has a pH of 3.0-4.0.

Chemical properties

It is an oxidizing agent. Reacts violently with combustible and reducing materials.

It is not combustible but it can accelerate the burning of materials that are. If heated to decomposition, it emits toxic nitrogen oxide gases:

2 Pb (NO 3 ) 2 + heat → 2 PbO + 4 NO 2 ↑ + O 2

When dissolved in water, it ionizes:

Pb (NO 3 ) 2 + H 2 O → Pb 2+ + 2 NO 3

Obtaining

It can be prepared by reacting metallic lead, lead monoxide (PbO) or lead carbonate PbCO 3 with nitric acid. It is advisable to use excess acid to avoid the formation of basic nitrates.

PbO + 2 HNO 3 (concentrated) → Pb (NO 3 ) 2 ↓ + H 2 O

Applications

In organic synthesis

Its oxidizing capacity has application in the preparation of various compounds.

It has been used to synthesize calixarenes, which are organic compounds whose molecule has the shape of a basket that allows it to house other substances depending on the use that will be given to it.

It is used to obtain isothiocyanates (R-NCS) starting from amines (R-NH 2 ).

It is used on an industrial scale to prepare benzaldehyde by oxidizing benzyl chloride. It also serves as a catalyst for the esterification of organic compounds, for example in the production of polyesters.

In chemical analysis

It is used as a reagent in the determination of aluminum and lead in minerals and rocks.

In the coloring of textile fibers

Some chromium dyes require the use of Pb (NO 3 ) 2 to obtain them. For example, to dye cotton yellow, the cotton is coated with lead nitrate and treated with sodium sulfate to produce lead sulfate.

Then a dilute sodium dichromate solution is applied to form lead chromate (PbCrO 4 ) which is a yellow pigment.

Some time ago, fabrics were colored yellow with pigments whose starting point was Pb (NO 3 ) 2 . Currently this is not done due to lead toxicity. Author: 3D Animation Production Company. Source: Pixabay.

However, today lead pigments have been discontinued due to their toxicity.

It also acts as a mordant to fix the dyes during the coloring or printing of other types of fiber.

In veterinary medina

It was formerly used as a caustic agent in the treatment of cankers or gangrenes in horses.

In the metal industry

Lead nitrate is used in the electrolytic refining of lead, as an agent to promote flotation in the removal of titanium from certain clays, it makes it possible to recover precious metals from cyanide solutions and is used in the electrodeposition of PbO 2 in nickel anodes.

In solar cells

It has been used in the form of an aqueous solution to make solar cells based on perovskite, a mineral of titanium oxide.

The synthesized material is an organometallic perovskite or lead iodide perovskite that has attracted the attention of researchers, as it has a high capacity for absorbing light and a great length of diffusion of charge carriers.

These characteristics make it an excellent candidate for photovoltaic devices, that is, they convert light into electrical current.

Photomicrograph of the structure of a lead halide perovskite taken with a fluorescence microscope. Furasova / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Other apps

(PbNO 3 ) 2 has also been used:

  • in the manufacture of matches, certain explosives and pyrotechnic materials,
  • in photography as a sensitizing agent to coat paper in photothermography,
  • in the textile industry to improve rayon and stabilize nylon,
  • in the elimination of rodents.

Lead nitrate has been used to make fireworks or pyrotechnic material. Author: Free-Photos. Source: Pixabay.

Risks

Fire and explosion

Although it is not a combustible compound, if it is exposed to fire or heat it can explode, generating toxic nitrogen oxides.

As it is a strongly oxidizing agent, there is a danger of a fire being generated if it comes into contact with organic materials.

To health

Produces irritation to the eyes, respiratory and digestive tracts. It is toxic by inhalation and ingestion. The most common symptoms of intoxication by this compound are gastrointestinal disorders, colic, constipation and weakness that can turn into paralysis of some muscles, among others.

Ingestion can also cause pain, cramps, depression, coma, and death.

For the natural environment

It is toxic to aquatic and terrestrial organisms, in addition its damages are persistent and it bioaccumulates in living beings, therefore it is considered a dangerous pollutant and should not be disposed of into the environment.

If accidentally spilled into water, it must be neutralized with calcium oxide (CaO), calcium carbonate (CaCO 3 ) or sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO 3 ).

It has been confirmed to be carcinogenic to animals and possibly humans.

References

  1. US National Library of Medicine. (2019). Lead (II) nitrate. Recovered from pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  2. Hsieh, TY et al. (2015). Efficient Perovskite Solar Cell Fabricated Using an Aqueous Lead Nitrate Precursor. Chem Commun (Camb). 2015 Sep 4; 51 (68): 13294-7. Recovered from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  3. Vratny, F. and Gugliotta, F. (1963). The Thermal Decomposition of Lead Nitrate. J. Inorg. Nucl. Chem., 1963, Vol. 25, pp. 1129-1132. Recovered from sciencedirect.com.
  4. Chakraborty, JN (2014). Dyeing with mineral colors. In Fundamentals and Practices in Colouration of Textiles. Recovered from sciencedirect.com.
  5. Kumari, H. and Atwood, J. (2017). Calixarenes in the Solid State. In Reference Module in Chemistry, Molecular Sciences and Chemical Engineering. Recovered from sciencedirect.com.
  6. Jeffery, PG and Hutchison, D. (1981). Aluminum. In Chemical Methods of Rock Analysis (Third Edition). Recovered from sciencedirect.com
  7. Sandler, SR and Karo, W. (1992). Cyanates, Isocyanates, Thiocyanates, and Isothiocyanates. In Sourcebook of Advanced Organic Laboratory Preparations. Recovered from sciencedirect.com.
  8. Smith, PWG et al. (1969). Aromatic Halogen Compounds. In Aromatic Chemistry. Recovered from sciencedirect.com.
  9. Cotton, F. Albert and Wilkinson, Geoffrey. (1980). Advanced Inorganic Chemistry. Fourth Edition. John Wiley & Sons.
  10. Lide, DR (editor) (2003). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. 85 th CRC Press.
  11. Wikimedia Foundation (2020). Lead (II) nitrate. Recovered from en.wikipedia.org.
  12. Shinde, DV et al. (2017). Enhanced Efficiency and Stability of an Aqueous Lead-Nitrate-Based Organometallic Perovskite Solar Cell. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 14023-14030. Recovered from pubs.acs.org.

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