Application of Yellow Lead Oxide
The kind of lead in lead glass is normally PbO, and PbO is used extensively in making glass. Depending on the glass, the benefit of using PbO in glass can be one or more of increasing the refractive index of the glass, decreasing the viscosity of the glass, increasing the electrical resistivity of the glass, and increasing the ability of the glass to absorb X-rays. Adding PbO to industrial ceramics (as well as glass) makes the materials more magnetically and electrically inert (raises the Curie temperature) and is often used for this purpose. Historically PbO was also used extensively in ceramic glazes for household ceramics, and it is still used, but not extensively any more. Other less dominant applications include the vulcanization of rubber and the production of certain pigments and paints. PbO is used in cathode ray tube glass to block X-ray emission, but mainly in the neck and funnel because it can cause discoloration when used in the faceplate. Strontium oxide is preferred for the faceplate.
The consumption of lead, and hence the processing of PbO, correlates with the number of automobiles because it remains the key component of automotive lead-acid batteries.
A mixture of PbO with glycerine sets to a hard, waterproof cement that has been used to join the flat glass sides and bottoms of aquariums, and was also once used to seal glass panels in window frames. It is a component of lead paints.
In powdered tetragonal litharge form, it can be mixed with linseed oil and then boiled to create a weather-resistant sizing used in gilding. The litharge would give the sizing a dark red color that made the gold leaf appear warm and lustrous, while the linseed oil would impart adhesion and a flat durable binding surface.
PbO is used in certain condensation reactions in organic synthesis