Lead Nitrate

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Created by: Team Chemistry - Examples.com, Last Updated: May 23, 2024

Lead Nitrate

Lead nitrate is a chemical compound with the formula Pb(NO₃)₂, commonly found in crystalline form. In chemistry, it appears as a white solid and is highly soluble in water. We often use lead nitrate in laboratories for various experiments and chemical reactions. This compound plays a crucial role in the synthesis of other lead compounds and in the production of fireworks and explosives due to its oxidizing properties. However, it’s important to handle lead nitrate with care, as it is toxic and can cause health hazards if not managed properly.

What is Lead Nitrate?

Lead nitrate is also known as lead(II) nitrate. It is a chemical compound with the formula Pb(NO₃)₂. It consists of lead and nitrate ions and appears as a colorless or white crystalline solid. This compound is highly soluble in water and is used in various industrial processes, including the manufacture of matches, explosives, and dyes. Lead nitrate is toxic and must be handled with care to avoid exposure and contamination.

Chemical Names and Formulas

Hill FormulaN₂O₆Pb
NameLead(II) Nitrate
IUPAC NamePlumbous Dinitrate
Alternate NamesLead(+2) Cation Dinitrate, Plumbous Dinitrate

Structure of Lead Nitrate

Structure of Lead Nitrate

The structure of lead nitrate consists of one lead ion (Pb²⁺) and two nitrate ions (NO₃⁻). In this structure, the lead ion is at the center, and the nitrate ions are arranged around it. Each nitrate ion has one nitrogen atom bonded to three oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar shape. The lead ion forms ionic bonds with the nitrate ions, resulting in a stable crystal lattice. This arrangement gives lead nitrate its characteristic crystalline form and solubility in water.

Preparation of Lead Nitrate

To prepare lead nitrate, you react lead(II) oxide (PbO) or lead(II) carbonate (PbCO₃) with nitric acid (HNO₃). When you add nitric acid to lead(II) oxide, the reaction produces lead nitrate and water. The chemical equation for this reaction is:

PbO + 2HNO₃ → Pb(NO₃)₂ + H₂O

Alternatively, when you react lead(II) carbonate with nitric acid, it produces lead nitrate, water, and carbon dioxide. The chemical equation for this reaction is:

PbCO₃ + 2HNO₃ → Pb(NO₃)₂ + H₂O + CO₂

In both methods, you dissolve the lead compound in nitric acid, filter out any impurities, and then allow the solution to evaporate. As the water evaporates, lead nitrate crystals form. You can then collect and dry these crystals for use in various applications.

Physical Properties of Lead Nitrate

AppearanceColorless or white crystalline solid
Molecular Weight331.2 g/mol
SolubilityHighly soluble in water
Melting Point470°C (decomposes)
Density4.53 g/cm³
Boiling PointDecomposes before boiling
ColorColorless or white
Crystal StructureOrthorhombic
Hygroscopic NatureHygroscopic (absorbs moisture from air)
Refractive Index1.783
Solubility in AlcoholSlightly soluble

Chemical Properties of Lead Nitrate

Reaction with Heat

  • When you heat lead nitrate, it decomposes to form lead(II) oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and oxygen. This reaction is characterized by the release of brown nitrogen dioxide gas.
  • Equation: 2Pb(NO₃)₂ → 2PbO + 4NO₂ + O₂

Reaction with Water

  • Lead nitrate is highly soluble in water. When you dissolve it in water, it dissociates into lead ions and nitrate ions.
  • Equation: Pb(NO₃)₂ → Pb²⁺ + 2NO³⁻

Reaction with Potassium Iodide

  • When you mix lead nitrate with potassium iodide, a yellow precipitate of lead(II) iodide forms. This is a double displacement reaction.
  • Equation: Pb(NO₃)₂ + 2KI → PbI₂ + 2KNO₃

Reaction with Sodium Hydroxide

  • When you add sodium hydroxide to lead nitrate, it forms a white precipitate of lead(II) hydroxide.
  • Equation: Pb(NO₃)₂ + 2NaOH → Pb(OH)₂ + 2NaNO₃

Lead Nitrate Chemical Compound Information

Chemical Identifiers

CAS Registry Number10099-74-8
PubChem Compound ID24924
PubChem Substance ID24852183
SMILES IdentifierN+([O-])[O-].N+([O-])[O-].[Pb+2]
InChI IdentifierInChI=1/2NO3.Pb/c22-1(3)4;/q2-1;+2
RTECS NumberOG2100000
MDL NumberMFCD00011153

Uses of Lead Nitrate

Uses Of Lead Nitrate

Dyeing and Printing

Lead nitrate is used in the textile industry for dyeing and printing fabrics. It helps fix dyes to the fabric, ensuring vibrant and long-lasting colors.


Lead nitrate serves as an oxidizing agent in the production of explosives. It helps facilitate the rapid combustion needed for explosions.


Manufacturers use lead nitrate in the production of matches. It helps in the ignition process, allowing matches to light easily.

Laboratory Reagents

Lead nitrate is commonly used as a reagent in chemical laboratories. It aids in various reactions and experiments to test for the presence of certain ions.


In photography, lead nitrate is used in some photographic processes to produce certain types of images. It helps in the development and processing of photographic films.

Metal Finishing

Lead nitrate is employed in metal finishing processes. It helps in electroplating and other treatments to protect and enhance the appearance of metals.

Side Effects of Lead Nitrate

  • Toxicity: Lead nitrate is highly toxic if ingested or inhaled, causing serious health issues.
  • Skin Irritation: Direct contact can cause irritation and burns on the skin.
  • Eye Damage: Exposure to lead nitrate can result in severe eye irritation and potential damage.
  • Respiratory Issues: Inhaling lead nitrate dust or fumes can lead to respiratory problems.
  • Neurological Effects: Long-term exposure can affect the nervous system, causing symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and cognitive issues.

What is the formula for lead nitrate?

The formula for lead nitrate is Pb(NO₃)₂, consisting of one lead ion (Pb²⁺) and two nitrate ions (NO₃⁻).

Is lead nitrate explosive?

Lead nitrate can act as an oxidizing agent in explosives, contributing to rapid combustion and explosions.

Is lead nitrate edible?

Lead nitrate is not edible. It is highly toxic and can cause severe health problems if ingested.

Is Lead Nitrate an acid or base?

Lead nitrate is neither an acid nor a base. It is a neutral salt formed from nitric acid and lead.

Is lead nitrate a strong acid?

Lead nitrate is not an acid. It is a salt composed of lead and nitrate ions.

What type of bond is lead nitrate?

Lead nitrate forms ionic bonds between lead ions (Pb²⁺) and nitrate ions (NO₃⁻).

What is the color of lead nitrate?

Lead nitrate is colorless or white in its solid crystalline form.

What does lead nitrate dissociate into?

Lead nitrate dissociates into lead ions (Pb²⁺) and nitrate ions (NO₃⁻) in water.

How much lead nitrate is toxic?

Ingesting even small amounts of lead nitrate can be toxic. Exposure levels above 0.1 mg/kg body weight are considered dangerous.

Is lead nitrate soluble in water?

Lead nitrate is highly soluble in water, easily dissolving to form a clear solution.

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