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Litharge Meaning

Litharge is a kind of mineral that is mainly used to manufacture Lead Stabilizers, Lead glass, pottery, paints, inks, and enamels. This is Lead Mono-Oxide, reddish or yellowish and heavy, reddish, earthy, odourless, solid, and water-insoluble. The other common names of this chemical component are Lead Oxide, Yellow Oxide, Plumbous Oxide, and commonly Lead Monoxide. At times Litharge is also known by its name Lethargic.

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Formation of Litharge

This chemical is a secondary mineral that is formed from the oxidation of the galena ores. The mineral is formed as encrustations and coatings that are formed with the internal crystalline structure of tetragonal. The chemical components of Litharge give it a soft and greasy texture that contains a very high-specific gravity ranging between 9.14-9.35. One can also prepare PbO by heating lead metal at an approx. The temperature of 600˚C.


The preparation setup includes a pumping air on the molten Lead that will cause the oxidized mineral to fall off the top into a container where it gets solidified in minutes. Esper S. Larsen Sr. originally established Litharge as a polymorph of massicot and was supposedly identified as a new mineral in 1917. 

Composition of Litharge Formula

Characteristic

Composition

Crystal Structure

Orthorhombic + Tetragonal

colour

Canary Yellow with Reddish tint

Gravity

9.5 to 9.9

Thermal Stability

250 ° C to 897 ° C

Retention on 240 mesh BS Sieve/63

micron IS Sieve (max %)

0.10

Solubility in Water gm/litre

0.10

Insoluble matter in Acetic Acid (% Max)

0.08

Water insoluble in acetic acid (% max)

0.10

Subsidence in Petrol / Water mi/gm

0.40 to 0.42

Apparent Density (scott) gm/cc

1.8 to 2.2

Oil Absorption %

0.1

Acid Absorption mg/gm

80 to 110

Melting point (°C)

888

Volatile matter (% max)

0.20

Water Absorption

100 – 105 mg/gm

Free Lead (% Max)

0.01 to 0.05

PbO (% Min)

99.5

Pb3O4(% max)

0.06


Types of Litharge

Out of hundreds of inorganic and organic lead compounds, including carbonates, oxides, sulfates, silicates, chromates, and acetates, Litharge is the most important of all. Lead Monoxide or Litharge consists of roughly 93% of Lead and only 7 % of oxygen as per weight. The process in which it is made yields a very distinctive variation of the physical properties. This makes it available in many particle sizes and only two crystal forms. 


When blended with red Lead and other combination additives, it yields a paste-type material used in the storage of batteries. The highest purity litharge is widely used in various crucial things like TV picture tubes, glass production, computer display terminals, etc. Litharge of Gold is formed when Litharge is mixed with red Lead, and Litharge of silver is formed as a by-product when silver is separated from Lead. Also, there is a Litharge of Bismuth obtained as a result of the oxidation of Bismuth. The two industrial forms of Litharge are Granular Litharge and Litharge powder. Litharge for sale is available in these mentioned variants.

Uses of Litharge

The heavy yellow powder, a product of Lead monoxide, Litharge, has several benefits and uses in the industrial arena. Litharge is hugely used as a red paste material for the storage of batteries derived from a blend of Red Lead and Litharge with other additives. Besides that,

  • The most superior quality Litharge is extensively used in the production of glass that includes the TV picture tube and computer video display terminals. This is because of Lead’s high shielding capacity that blocks harmful radiation. Commonly, the inner part of a light bulb is made up of leaded glass.

  • Litharge has immense use in the manufacture of enamels and the production of frits.

  • Also, in the finest crystal glassware, the Lead present in Litharge imparts strength and brilliance.

  • Red Lead is also used in various explosives industries, ceramics, paints, and pigments. 

Historical Terminology of the Chemical Name of Litharge

The chemical name of Litharge has its origin from Latin Lithargyrus, which is derived from the combination of lithos (stone) + arguros (silver). As a matter of fact defines, Litharge meaning is the mineral residue after silver is refined. Litharge is a term that is also used as a synonym for red Lead and white Lead. 

The Properties of Litharge Formula are Provided in the Tabular Form:

Physical Properties of Litharge

Cleavage

Distinct

colour

Red

Density

9.14 - 9.355, Average = 9.24

Diaphaneity

Transparent

Hardness

2 - Gypsum

Habit

Encrustations - Forms crust-like aggregates on matrix

Luster

Greasy (Oily)

Luminescence

Non-fluorescent

Streak

Red

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Which Metal is Present in Litharge?

Answer: Litharge mineral has its name derived from Greek Lithargyros, lithos(stone), and Argyros (silver) is the natural mineral type of Lead (II) Oxide, PbO. It is also a secondary mineral formed as a result of the oxidation of Galena Ores. 

Q2. What is the Use of Litharge?

Answer: Lead Monoxide (PbO), commonly known as Litharge, is a reddish or yellowish mineral that is odourless, earthy, heavy, water-insoluble mainly used in the production of Lead Stabilizers, lead glass, pottery, paints, inks, and enamels. 

Q3. What are the Risks Related to Litharge and Its Precautionary Measures?

Answer: Litharge is toxic if inhaled or ingested. In case of contact with skin, it may cause irritation or even ulcers. Litharge is a teratogen and carcinogen suspected mutagen. In case of contact with eyes, immediately flush with fresh water and remove contact lenses if wearing any. On skin contact, wash off with soap immediately. In case of inhalation or ingestion, move the patient first to fresh air space and then to medical care. 

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