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Here, friends and neighbors, is the eighth and final video of Engineer Guy series #4. The element of the week is called plumbum in Latin, abbreviated to Pb on the periodic table, and generally known as lead. Formed into electrodes with its oxide and submerged in sulfuric acid, lead is an essential component in the ignition batteries that start cars and other gas-powered vehicles.

Though the lead-acid cell dates to the mid-19th century, and in spite of lead’s density and toxicity, this technology remains a keystone of modern industrial society, and may well continue in that role for a long time. Bill and company explain this anachronism, and lots more, with all their usual flair. [Thanks, Bill!]

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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