The Electrifying Properties of Lead Dioxide

Lead Dioxide is an oxide compound where lead is in an oxidation state of +4. Possessing both ionic and covalent bonds, the compound is written as PbO2 and is sometimes called plumbic oxide. All the nomenclature aside, what is it good for?

The Properties of Lead Dioxide
PbO2 is an amphoteric compound with strong acidic tendencies. It dissolves in a strong base and its excess of lead is actually what gives it its excellent metallic conductivity. Like all metals, Lead Dioxide has electrode potential and can be polarized both cathodically and anodically.

Commercially available Lead Dioxide is usually formed using electrochemical methods. It’s typically sold as a brown hexagonal crystalline substance or a brown powder, but can be produced in several forms including a DryPowder or a WetSolid. Pure Lead Dioxide is insoluble in water.


What Lead Dioxide is Used For
Because Lead Dioxide is such a strong oxidizing agent, it’s often used in pyrotechnics. It’s today used in the manufacture of matches, chemicals, and dyes, but one of its most important applications is in the field of electrochemistry. It’s also used in the production of rubber substitutes as well as in glass production.

Many of the most common vehicular batteries on the planet utilize Lead Dioxide as a cathode. With metallic conductivity, the compound stores and releases energy by shifting equilibrium between lead, sulfuric acid, and lead dioxide. Lead Dioxide is an integral component of most flooded-cell batteries like those used in motorcycles, cars, and scooters.


How Volatile is Lead Dioxide?
Of course, as a corrosive agent, Lead Dioxide is highly flammable and volatile. It’s hazardous to humans when ingested and must be handled extremely carefully during use, application, and shipping. The term “battery acid” typically refers to the dangerous leakage of lead sulfate and water.


Questions about whether Lead Dioxide is appropriate for your specific application? Noah Chemicals specializes in manufacturing high-purity chemicals in any amount. To talk to our experienced team of chemists, contact our San Antonio, Texas, office today.

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