Does Lead Conduct Electricity: 11 Facts You Should Know

Lead is one of the elements in the periodic table which is denoted by the symbol Pb with atomic number 82. Let us discuss several facts regarding lead and its electric conductivity.

Lead conducts electricity but it is poor when compared to copper and other elements. Lead is a soft metal which is actually extracted from a mineral called galena.

When exposed to air, lead’s low ductility makes it very resistant to corrosion and tarnishing. Now, let’s go into more detail about the characteristics of lead and how it conducts electricity.

How does lead conduct electricity?

Conductivity of electricity is a process where a material allows the electric current to pass through it. Let us examine the specifics of how lead conducts electricity.

Lead conducts electricity when it interacts with the oxygen present in the atmosphere that eventually forms a layer of lead oxide which stands out to be the reason for poor conduction of electricity.

Why does lead conduct electricity?

Conduction of electricity is due to the flow of charges from one atom to another when a strong voltage is applied. Let us see why lead conducts electricity in terms.

Lead conducts electricity due to the presence of free electron in its outermost shell. Lead is a post transition metal with poor electrical conductivity since it is an element in the p block.

When does lead conduct electricity?

Lead is a poor conductor of electricity because of its low melting point and strong malleability. Let’s investigate the circumstances under which lead conducts electricity.

Lead conducts electricity when it allows electrons to flow through a circuit when a voltage is applied across the wires. Due to its chemical brittleness, lead is a poor conductor of electricity.

What is the electric conductivity of lead?

Electrical conductivity is basically the speed at which electrons move in an electric circuit that generates current. Let’s examine lead’s electrical conductivity.

Electrical conductivity of lead is found to be 4.55 x 106 Ohm m-1. Lead behaves as a superconductor in this situation because temperature has an impact on how well electricity conducts.

How does lead conduct electricity in molten state?

Generally, molten metals can conduct electricity. Let’s analyze the electrical conductivity of molten lead.

Lead conducts electricity when stored as an electrolyte, which is the molten form of it. Basically, metals in the form of electrolyte conduct electricity. When mixed with another substance, lead conducts electricity when it is molten.

Why doesn’t solid lead bromide conduct electricity?

Metal will conduct electricity whether it is solid or molten, however under specific conditions it will behave differently. Let’s explore the reasons behind the non-conductivity of solid lead bromide.

Solid lead bromide does not conduct electricity in light of the fact that it is an ionic compound and since its ions are firmly held together by electrostatic forces. It needs to be fused or melted into molten bromide in order to conduct electricity.

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Image credit: Lead by Matt Brown (CC BY 2.0)

Why lead is poor electric conductor than metal?

Reduced electron flow is the cause of poor electrical conduction. Let’s look at why lead is a poor electrical conductor.

Lead when exposed to atmosphere will immediately form lead oxide which is why it is a poor conductor of electricity. Since the ions in this system are confined in a three-dimensional lattice, electricity cannot conduct because the ions are immobilized.

Structure and bonding of lead

Structure and bonding of lead depends on the number of occupied yet unbonded orbitals. Let’s talk about the lead’s structure and bonding of lead.

  • Structure: Lead forms a metallic bond with the p electrons delocalized in a face-centered cubic configuration. There are three distinct oxide types of lead.
  • Bonding: Covalent bonding is the type of bonding seen in lead. It binds the chain and shares two 6p atomic orbitals; additionally, the overlap of the final two orbitals takes place here.

Properties of lead

Lead is a transition metal which has the electronic configuration is, [Xe] 6s²4f¹⁴5d¹⁰6p². Let us brief out few properties of lead.

  • Lead has an extremely low melting point of 327.5 °C (621.5 °F), making it a soft metal.
  • Lead allotropes are a by-product of radioactive materials that are found in nature.
  • Lead has a faintly blue tinge and is a slightly dark grey color. The dark grey turns dull grey when it is exposed to air.
  • Lead has exceptional corrosion resistance as well as excellent malleability.
  • Lead is a better electrical conductor in its purest state compared to lead oxide.

Is lead a bad conductor of heat and why?

The primary requirement for a conductor is that it should allow a enough amount of electrons to travel across the circuit. Let’s find out if lead is a good or poor heat conductor.

Lead is a poor heat conductor due to its quick reactivity with the oxides found in nature. Because of this, lead is generally regarded as being a poor conductor of heat and electricity compared to other metals.


The periodic table’s p block contains lead, a transition metal. Lead is a poor conductor of heat and electricity, according to its physical characteristics. Due to its resistance to corrosion, lead is also a practical metal used in water pipelines. When it comes to industrial uses and a sustainable usage for the environment, lead is the most dependable metal.

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