What Is Red Oxide Paint?

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Red oxide, or minium, is the tetraoxide of lead, formula Pb?O?. It is also called red lead. Not commonly occurring in nature, lead tetraoxide can be prepared by a number of simple reactions, one example being the oxidation of the commonly occurring Pb?² oxide, litharge:


6 PbO + O? ? Pb?O?

Mixed Valences

  • Pb?O? can be written 2PbO?PbO?, which indicates it consists of a mixture of oxidation states +2 and +4.

Paint and Primer

  • Red oxide is used in paints and primers as a rust preventive. If traces of rust are present on an iron surface, red oxide paint will still adhere, because it interacts with the surface by forming chemical bonds.

Reaction

  • Red oxide, also called red lead, reacts with iron and iron oxides to form insoluble compounds called plumbates, in which lead is part of the anion, (PbO?)?². For instance, ferrous plumbate has the formula Fe(PbO?), in which the cation is Fe?².

Falling Into Disuse

  • Red oxide paint is falling into disuse due to concern over lead poisoning.

In Glass

  • Red oxide is used in some glass formulations, where there exists no significant health threat to the public.

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