Lead – A Misunderstood Element

Most people know what lead is and they understand that casting lead ingots produces a very soft and dense material. In the past, it was used extensively for paints and plumbing lines. However, over the years, man realized that too much lead exposure could cause problems. Yet, there are still many safe and effective uses for lead-based products today and here is information to consider.

Ore Extraction

Lead can be taken from a variety of ores found deep in the earth because it’s a common element. However, the most commonly used ore is known as galena. In some cases, mining companies may use other ores like anglesite and cerussite.

Lead ore is not as expensive as you may think. In fact, it’s often a byproduct of silver and zinc production. This helps to keep the cost of casting lead ingots down and makes it an affordable material. Also, thanks to many recycling efforts, about fifty percent of all the lead produced today doesn’t have to come from mined ores.

Uses for Lead

You may come across a lot of leaded products today and not even know it. For example, lead is still the most efficient and cost-effective material to use for weights. This includes weights in industrial scales, bridges, ships, and elevators. Some of these weights are extremely heavy, and it would take a great deal more iron or other metal to make the same weight as lead.

Many companies today concentrate on casting lead ingots to use as ammunition. In fact, some of the best bullets are made from a process that produces hard cast bullets. This method mixes other metals with the soft lead, so you have a bullet that doesn’t cause problems with modern rifling.

These are just a few of the many uses for lead-based products, including roofing and x-rays shielding products.

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