noun[mass noun] Chemistry
A toxic colourless oily liquid made synthetically and used as an anti-knock agent in leaded petrol.
- Chemical formula: Pb(C2H5)4.
- For most of the twentieth century, metallic sodium was heated with lead to form an alloy as the first step in the production of tetraethyl lead, an antiknock gasoline additive.
- When added to gasoline in minute amounts, tetraethyl lead prevents engine knock and increases the gasoline's octane rating.
- In fact, tetraethyl lead in unleaded gasoline is replaced with a mixture (with antistroke properties) of benzene and its homologues (despite the fact that benzene does not exceed 1% in unleaded gasoline).
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