Lead dust and fumes are poisonous. Exercise extreme care when welding lead, and use personal protective equipment.
Lead is a heavy, soft, malleable metal with low melting point, low tensile strength, and low creep strength. It is resistant to corrosion from atmosphere, moisture, and water, and is effective against many acids. It is well suited for cold working and casting. The low melting point makes the correct welding rod selection very important.
Uses. Lead is used mainly in the manufacture of electrical equipment such as lead-coated power and telephone cables, and storage batteries. It is also used in building construction in both pipe and sheet form, and in solder. Alloyed with Zinc it is used in the manufacture of weights, bearings, gaskets, seals, bullets, and shot. Many types of chemical compounds are produced from lead; among these are lead carbonate (paint pigment) and tetraethyl lead (antiknock gasoline). It is also used for X-ray protection (radiation shields). It has has more fields of application than any other metal.
Capabilities. It can be cast, cold worked, welded, and machined. It is corrosion, atmosphere, moisture, and water resistant, and is resistant to many acids.
Limitations. It has low strength with heavy weight. The dust and fumes are very poisonous.
Properties. Pure lead has tensile strength of 2500 to 3000 psi (17,237.5 to 20,685 kPa); specific gravity of 11.3; and a melting point of 620°F (327°C). Alloy lead B32-467 has tensile strength of 5800 psi (39,991 kPa). Generally, the metal has low electrical conductivity; is self-lubricating; is malleable; and is corrosion resistant.