Lead is a soft and malleable metal that is considered as a heavy metal. With the Pb symbol and 82 atomic number, corrosion & low temperature resistant lead finds use in many sectors and products, from lead-acid batteries, cables, bearings, cathode ray tubes, weights to building construction industry, chemical industry and auto battery manufacturers. Compared to all stable elements, this metal has the highest atomic number.
The largest sector consuming lead is Battery, accounting for three-quarters of the total demand. Batteries are divided into following:
1) Starting-Lighting-Ignition or SLI batteries are currently consuming over half of the total lead that is in demand. These batteries are majorly used in light vehicles. Their usage is not limited to cars but also boats and golf carts. The demand of SLI batteries can be divided into original equipment and replacement. The replacement demand is surpassing original equipment demand by nearly about 4:1 in various markets.
2) Industrial batteries are currently consuming a quarter from the total lead production. This sector includes stationary and traction batteries, divided roughly 50:50. Stationary batteries primarily finds application in back up power supply systems, whereas traction batteries find use in motorized wheelchairs and forklift trucks.
The remaining lead finds use in non-battery applications. Lead is supplied to several other industries to be used as a pure metal, as a chemical compound or alloyed with other metal as a chemical compound or alloyed with other metals, for following applications:
It can be used for making lead pipes for the transport of corrosion chemicals and other material.
It is used in paint industry as a lead-based pigment.
It is used in cable industry as sheathing material for power cables.
It also finds use in computer monitors, television screens, Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) stabilizers and other industrial products.