Lead alloys, such as lead-calcium-tin and lead-silver, are the primary insoluble anodes used in the electrowinning of metals. While some difficulties are encountered in their use, there is no obvious replacement that is economically and technically competitive. Two of the specific problems with lead include decreased cathode purity due to incorporation from corrosion products and the relatively high overpotential which increases cell voltage. To gain an improved understanding of the fundamental behavior of lead anodes, the polarization behavior of six different alloys in sulfuric acid was evaluated. Some tests were also made with Co(II) in the acid sulfate electrolyte. Notable differences were found in the multiple activation-passivation cycles, stability, and relative activity for oxygen evolution for the alloys, and the relative trends in behavior were established. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy studies were also conducted at selected potentials. Overall, the data show that the electrochemical response, particularly the degree of polarization for the oxygen evolution reaction, of the lead alloy anodes are dependent on the surface phases and structures present. The ability to depolarize the anode reaction using Co(II) was particularly sensitive to the lead composition.


Materials Science and Engineering

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Apr 1999

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Metallurgy Commons