Ultra-Fine Purification of Scrap Lead by Electrolysis

Qanita Tayyaba, Khalid Waheed, Asif Mahmood, Mujtaba ul Hassan, Naseem Irfan


Various uses of corrosion resistant Lead, such as pipes, pewter and paint, has been identified in known history. Many applications in modern days use lead e.g., to prepare lead glazes for pottery and, in insecticides, hair dyes and as an anti-knocking additive for petrol. Lead is still widely used for pigments, ammunition, cable sheathing, weights for lifting, and weight belts for diving, leads crystal glass and in some solders. There are applications where lead is required in its refined form, such as background radiation reduction by providing lead shielding of environmental samples in High Purity Germanium (HPGe) spectroscopy. Pure lead is also required as a starting material for fabrication of plates of lead accumulator in battery industry. In present study, ultra-fine purification of scrap lead has been investigated by electrolysis. Electrolysis was done using different electrolytes, different electrodes and with varying interelctrode distances. One electrolyte used was lead dissolved in hexafluorosilic acid and the other was lead dissolved in tartaric acid and nitric acid. Stainless steel and graphite were used as cathode respectively while scrap lead is used as anode material. The results were compared by purification of scrap lead by hydro-metallurgical process and vacuum distillation techniques and it was deduced that by the electrolysis technique, the amount of pyrometallurgical process steps can be decreased dramatically. 

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