Lead is a chemical element with atomic number 82 and symbol Pb. When freshly cut, it is bluish-white, it tarnishes to a dull gray upon exposure to air and it is a soft, malleable, and heavy metal with a density exceeding that of most common materials. Lead has the second-highest atomic number of the stable elements. Lead is a relatively unreactive post-transition metal and its weak metallic character is illustrated by its amphoteric nature and tendency to form covalent bonds. Compounds of lead are found in the +2 oxidation state. Exceptions are mostly limited to organolead compounds, like the lighter members of the group, lead exhibits a tendency to bond to itself, it can form chains, rings, and polyhedral structures. Lead is easily extracted from its ores and was known to people in Western Asia. A principal ore of lead, galena, often bears silver, Lead production declined after the fall of Rome and did not reach comparable levels again until the Industrial Revolution. Nowadays, global production of lead is about ten million tonnes annually, Lead has several properties that make it useful, high density, low melting point, ductility, and relative inertness to oxidation. In the late 19th century, lead was recognized as poisonous, Lead is a neurotoxin that accumulates in soft tissues and bones, damaging the nervous system and causing brain disorders and, in mammals, blood disorders. A lead atom has 82 electrons, arranged in a configuration of 4f145d106s26p2. The combined first and second ionization energies—the total energy required to remove the two 6p electrons—is close to that of tin, leads upper neighbor in group 14. This is unusual since ionization energies generally fall going down a group as an elements outer electrons become more distant from the nucleus, the similarity is caused by the lanthanide contraction—the decrease in element radii from lanthanum to lutetium, and the relatively small radii of the elements after hafnium. The contraction is due to shielding of the nucleus by the lanthanide 4f electrons. The combined first four ionization energies of lead exceed those of tin, for this reason lead, unlike tin, mostly forms compounds in which it has an oxidation state of +2, rather than +4. Relativistic effects, which become particularly prominent at the bottom of the periodic table, as a result, the 6s electrons of lead become reluctant to participate in bonding, a phenomenon called the inert pair effect. A related outcome is that the distance between nearest atoms in crystalline lead is unusually long, the lighter group 14 elements form stable or metastable allotropes having the tetrahedrally coordinated and covalently bonded diamond cubic structure. The energy levels of their outer s- and p-orbitals are close enough to allow mixing into four hybrid sp3 orbitals
Image: Lead 2
Kymographic recording of the effect of lead acetate on frog heart experimental set up.