Lead Acetate Formula

What is the Chemical Formula of Lead Acetate?

Lead acetate is a chemical compound with physical characteristics that show it as a white crystal having a slightly sweet taste. It is also known by the different names such as lead acetate, lead diacetate, plumbous acetate, sugar of lead, lead sugar, salt of Saturn, or Goulard’s powder. The formula for Lead II acetate which is the chemical formula of lead acetate is Pb(CH3COO)2. From the molecular formula of lead acetate, it is clear that the oxidation state of lead in lead acetate is +2. Hence, the commonly known lead acetate is Lead II acetate. Another compound with oxidation of lead ion as 4 is the Lead IV acetate and the lead IV acetate formula is given as Pb(CH3COO)4. The molecular weight as determined by the lead acetate formula, containing a +2 oxidation state is 325.29 g/mol. This weight is in an anhydrous form. Similarly, the formula for Lead IV Acetate will help in determining its molecular weight which is 443.38 g/mol.


Properties of Lead Acetate

Lead acetate solution formula exists in anhydrous and hydrous states. For the hydrous part, the lead acetate formula is Pb(CH3COO)2·3H2O, and hence the molecular weight that can be obtained from the Lead II Acetate formula (hydrous) is 379.33 g/mol. Typically, just like other compounds of lead acetate, it is also toxic. Along with water, lead acetate is also soluble in glycerin. The trihydrate form of lead acetate is a colourless or white efflorescent monoclinic crystalline substance. The structural formula of lead acetate, a depiction of the Lead II Acetate formula is:

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The crystalline structure of the anhydrous form of lead II acetate is described as a two-dimensional coordination polymeric compound. On the contrary, the trihydrate form of lead II acetate is a one-dimensional coordination polymer in structure. In the trihydrate, the coordination sphere of Pb2+ ion, which can be understood by the chemical formula of lead acetate in hydrous form, is surrounded by nine oxygen atoms that belong to the three water molecules, two bidentate acetate groups and two bridging acetate groups. The geometry of the coordination of the lead ion which is the central ion as observed from the Lead II Acetate formula is a monocapped square antiprism.


Uses of Lead Acetate

Lead acetate is a reagent that is used to make other compounds containing lead. It is also used as a fixative in some of the dyes. Typically, lead acetate is used as a mordant in textile printing and also in dyeing, as a drier in chemical paints and as a varnish. Historically, it is used as a sugar substitute in foods and in beverages, especially in wines. This use of lead acetate as a sweetener can be dated back to ancient Roman times, as they used to boil grape juice or must in lead pots in order to produce a sugar syrup which was known as defrutum and concentrated into sapa. 


Another one of the historical uses of lead acetate is its use in cosmetics. Both lead acetate and white lead have been used throughout known history.  Until recently, it had been used in men’s hair colouring products. An example of this is the Grecian Formula. Due to the increase in the number of cases of lead poisoning as proven by the tests like the ones conducted by Canada, the use of lead acetate in cosmetic products and cosmetic industry has been banned in many countries like the countries that are part of the European Union. 


With the increasing number of lead poisoning cases, the use of lead acetate in products that can come in contact with a person or in products that are ingestible has been banned. Apart from that its industrial uses like the detection of the poisonous hydrogen sulphide gas are still continued. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Use of Lead Acetate?

Ans: Commercially, lead acetate is usually available as lead acetate trihydrate. This compound of lead finds applicability as a mordant in the textile printing industry, in colour fixation in the dyeing industry, as a lead coating for metals, as a drier in chemical paints, in varnishes and pigment inks and until recently as a colourant in hair dyes.

2. How Toxic is Lead Acetate?

Ans: Lead acetate is known to cause poisoning. It is also known to cause cancer. It may cause damage to the nervous system. Exposure of lead acetate to the brain and kidney can cause damage and can also lead to anaemia. Hence, lead acetate is a pretty toxic substance.

3. How is Lead Acetate Created?

Ans: Lead acetate is usually formed by boiling the element form of lead in acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide. This method can also work for the production of lead carbonate or lead oxide. It can also be obtained by the single water displacement of lead acetate creation.