Lead Citrate Recipe

Materials: lead nitrate, sodium citrate, 1 N sodium hydroxide solution (aqueous), 50 ml graduated cylinder, 1000 ml Erlenmeyer flask, 2X distilled water, plastic transfer pipettes, 50 ml volumetric flask, top loading balance, 10 ml graduated plastic pipette, nitric acid, 5 ten ml capacity syringes, 26 gauge hypodermic needles, small rubber cork, paper tape, lab coat and/or apron, surgical mask, gloves, goggles.


  1. Fill all glassware with 10% nitric acid (aqueous) for several minutes. Then discard the solution into appropriate waste container. Rinse the glassware at least 10X with twice distilled water. Set aside to dry. This nitric acid solution really clean/etches all glassware!
  2. Boil about 750 ml of double distilled water in 1000 ml Erlenmeyer on hotplate for at least 30 minutes in order to boil off carbon dioxide. Continue to boil through out procedure.
  3. Next, weigh out 1.33 grams of lead nitrate and carefully add to 50 ml volumetric flask.
  4. Add 30 ml of the boiled water to the 50 ml volumetric flask and shake.
  5. Add 1.76 grams of sodium citrate to 50 ml volumetric flask.
  6. Shake vigorously for 2 minutes. Solution will be a milky white.
  7. Let stand 30 minutes with occasional shaking by inversion.
  8. Add 8 ml of 1 N sodium hydroxide solution (freshly made). Mix by inversion. The solution should clear.
  9. Bring up the volume to 50 ml.
  10. Dispense the lead citrate into 10 ml portions into each of the syringes. Cap with a hypodermic needle.
  11. Expel any air in syringe.
  12. Place the syringes, hypodermic needle down into the rubber cork and place all in a plastic 200 cc cup for storage. Store in refrigerator (4 degree C). Label the cup with today's date with tape or magic marker.