The lead chamber process is a method of producing sulphuric acid in a series of large, boxlike chambers of lead sheets.
The English industrialist John Roebuck invented the lead chamber process in 1746 because he wanted to create a cheaper way of producing sulphuric acid as it was mainly produced in glass jars (which were expensive) during his time. Here is the process he used:
- He built a boxlike chamber from riveted sheets of lead as it was the only inexpensive metal known at that time that did not react with sulphuric acid.
- He then mixed sulpur with small amount of potassium nitrate on a ladle, ignited it, and placed it on a tray in the lead chamber.
- Water was poured onto the floor of the chamber to absorb the gases released by the reaction in order to form some sulphuric acid.
- He then mixed the same substances and ignited them again several times to form more concentrated acid.
- The liquid extracted from the chamber in the end contained 35-45% sulphuric acid.
Here is a portrait of John Roebuck:
[ux_image_box img=”720″ image_width=”50″ link=”https://www.geni.com/people/Dr-John-Roebuck-M-D-FRS/6000000017917153081″ target=”_blank”]