Lithium (Li) is a silvery-white metallic element that is soft and is the least dense metal. Used in atomic reactors, light alloys, and batteries. Lithium and its compounds are not as typical as other alkali metals because lithium has a high charge density and a stable bismuth -type two-electron layer, making it easy for lithium to polarize other molecules or ions, but not itself. This affects the stability of it and its compounds.

Since the electrode potential is the most negative, lithium is the most active metal in known elements (including radioactive elements) (note that it is not metallicand the most metallic of the known elements is yttrium).

Lithium Element

The natural reserves of lithium in the earth’s crust are 11 million tons, and the recoverable reserves are 4.1 million tons. In 2004, the world’s lithium mining volume was 20,200 tons, of which 7,990 tons were mined in Chile, 3,930 tons in Australia, 2,630 tons in China, 2,200 tons in Russia and 1,970 tons in Argentina.

Lithium is known as “rare metal”. In fact, its content in the earth’s crust is not “rare”. There is about 0.0065% lithium in the earth’s crust, and its abundance ranks 27th. It is known that there are more than 150 kinds of lithium-containing minerals, among which are mainly spodumene, lithium mica, and lithium feldspar.


The content of lithium in seawater is not small, and the total reserves are 260 billion tons. Unfortunately, the concentration is too small and it is difficult to refine. Some mineral waters and plant organisms are rich in lithium.

For example, some red and yellow seaweeds and tobacco often contain more lithium compounds for development and utilization. China’s lithium mine resources are abundant. Based on China’s lithium salt production, only the Jiangxi mica lithium mine can be mined for hundreds of years.

Lithium Discovery

The first piece of lithium ore, Lithium feldspar (LiAlSi4O10) is made by Brazilians (Jozé Bonifácio de Andralda e Silva) was discovered on the Swedish island called Utö in the 1790s. When throwing it into the fire, it emits a strong crimson flame, and Johan August Arfvedson of Stockholm analyzes it and concludes that it contains previously unknown metals, which he calls lithium.

He realized that this was a new alkali metal element. However, unlike sodium, he failed to separate it by electrolysis. In 1821 William Brande electrolyzed a trace of lithium, but this was not enough for experimentation.  Lithium Element

It was not until 1855 that the German chemist Robert Bunsen and the British chemist Augustus Matthiessen electrolyzed lithium chloride to obtain a large piece of lithium. The English word for lithium is Lithium, which is derived from the Greek lithos, meaning “stone.” Lithos’s first syllable is pronounced “in”.

Because it is metal, add the radical “钅” on the left. Lithium is much less in the earth’s crust than potassium and sodium, and its compounds are rare, which is an inevitable factor found later than potassium and sodium. In the second year of lithium discovery, it was re-analyzed by French chemist Volkland.

Lithium, atomic number 3, atomic weight 6.941, is the lightest alkali metal element. The name of the element comes from the Greek word, the original meaning is “stone”. In 1817, it was discovered by the Swedish scientist Afwer Cong when analyzing the feldspar mine. The main lithium minerals in nature are spodumene, lithium mica, and lithium.

Feldspar and mayenite. Lithium can be found in human and animal organisms, soil and mineral water, cocoa powder, tobacco, and algae. Natural lithium has two isotopes: lithium 6 and lithium 7.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Physical Properties

Silver-white metal. It is soft and can be cut with a knife. It is the lightest metal and has a lower density than all oils and liquid hydrocarbons. It should be stored in solid paraffin or white petrolatum (lithium will also float in liquid paraffin).

The density of lithium is very small, only 0.534 g/cm3, which is the smallest of the non-gaseous elements.

Because the lithium atom has a small radius, it has the lowest compressibility, the highest hardness, and the highest melting point compared to other alkali metals.

When the temperature is higher than -117 °C, metallic lithium is a typical body-centered cubic structure, but when the temperature drops to -201 °C, it begins to transform into a face-centered cubic structure. The lower the temperature, the greater the degree of transformation, but the transition is incomplete. At 20 ° C, the lattice constant of lithium is 3.50 Å and the conductance is about one-fifth of that of silver.

The flame color reaction of lithium is purple.

Lithium Isotope

There are seven isotopes in lithium, two of which are stable, Li-6 and Li-7. In addition to being stable, the longest half-life is Li-8, which has a half-life of 838 milliseconds, followed by Li. -9, with 187.3 milliseconds, after which the other isotope half-lives are below 8.6 milliseconds. Li-4 is the shortest isotope with the half-life of all isotopes, only 7.50843 × 10-23 seconds.

The Li-6 has a strong ability to capture low-speed neutrons and can be used to control the rate of nuclear reactions in uranium reactors. It can also be used in nuclear power aircraft and spacecraft in terms of radiation protection and extended life of nuclear missiles. Li-6 in atomic reactors can be obtained by tritium neutron irradiation, and tritium can be used to achieve a thermonuclear reaction. Li-6 can be used as a coolant in nuclear devices.

Chemical Properties

Lithium, a chemical element, is a metal with a strong metal activity (the most metallic metal is lanthanum). It’s chemical symbol is Li, its atomic number is 3, and two of the three electrons. Distributed in the K layer, the other in the L layer.

Lithium is the lightest of all metals. Because lithium has a large charge density and a stable bismuth -type two-electron layer, lithium easily polarizes other molecules or ions, and it is not easily polarized by itself. This affects the stability of it and its compounds.

Although the hydrogen standard potential of lithium is the most negative, it has reached -3.045, but because lithium hydroxide has little solubility and the exothermic heat of lithium does not melt the lithium when it reacts with water, the reaction between lithium and water is not as strong as sodium, and the reaction proceeds.

After a while, the oxynitride film on the surface of the lithium is dissolved, thereby making the reaction more intense. It reacts readily with hydrogen at about 500 ℃, produce lithium hydride, is the only form stable enough to melt without decomposition of the hydrides of alkali metals, ionization energy of 5.392 eV, with oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and other compounds can, is The only reaction with nitrogen at room temperature produces an alkali metal of lithium nitride (Li3N).


Darkened due to oxidation. If lithium is thrown into concentrated sulfuric acid, it will quickly float on sulfuric acid, burn and explode. If lithium and potassium chlorate are mixed (oscillated or ground), it is also possible to explode. Lithium Element

The chemical reaction equation for some reactions of lithium is described as follows:

4 Li + O2 = 2 Li2O (reaction conditions: spontaneous reaction, or heating, or ignition) (burning violently)

6 Li + N2 = 2 Li3N (reaction conditions: spontaneous reaction, or heating, or ignition)

2 Li + S = Li2S (The reaction gives off a lot of heat and explodes!)

2 Li + 2 H2O = 2 LiOH + H2↑ (Phenomenon: Lithium floats on the water surface, reacts quickly, releasing a colorless gas)

2 Li + 2 CH3CH2OH (ethanol) = 2 CH3CH2OLi (lithium ethoxide) + H2 ↑

4 Li + TiCl4 = Ti + 4 LiCl

2 Li + 2 NH3(l.) = 2 LiNH2 + H2↑

Lithium hydride undergoes a violent chemical reaction with water, producing a large amount of hydrogen. After decomposing two kilograms of lithium hydride, 566 kiloliters of hydrogen can be evolved. Lithium hydride is indeed a well-deserved “factory for the production of hydrogen.”

During the Second World War, American pilots had a light hydrogen source, hydrogenated lithium pellets, for emergency use. When the plane crashes on the surface of the water, as soon as it hits the water, the lithium hydride immediately reacts with the water, releasing a large amount of hydrogen, inflating the life-saving equipment (lifeboat, life jacket, signal balloon, etc.).

Preparation Method

In 1855, Bunsen and Maggieson made it by electrolytically melting lithium chloride. The industrial lithium was proposed by Gensa in 1893. Lithium lasted 76 years from the time it was identified as an element to industrial production. Electrolytic lithium chloride to produce lithium consumes a large amount of electrical energy, and each ton of lithium consumes up to six or seventy thousand degrees of electricity.

Industrially, the lithium element can be prepared by the following method:

Lithium chloride was dried by burning at a temperature not exceeding its melting point (602 ° C) for 1 h.

The lithium chloride was dehydrated by using freshly distilled pyridine which was dehydrated and dried by potassium hydroxide to prepare a 11.81% lithium chloride pyridine solution as an electrolytic solution. A graphite plate is used as the anode, and a smooth platinum or iron piece is used as the cathode without a separator. The voltage used in electrolysis was 1.4 V, and the current density was 0.2 to 0.3 A/100 cm 2.

Uses of Lithium


6 the mass number of isotopes (6Li) are placed in a nuclear reactor, with neutron irradiation can be tritium. It can be used for thermonuclear reactions and has important applications. Lithium is mainly used as a thickener for greases in the form of lithium stearate. This lubricant combines high water resistance, high-temperature resistance, and good low-temperature properties.

Lithium compounds are used in ceramics to act as a co-solvent. Also used in the metallurgical industry as a deoxidizer or dechlorination agent, as well as lead-based bearing alloys. Lithium is also an important component of bismuth, magnesium, and aluminum light alloys.

Lithium is closely related to daily life, and lithium-ion batteries used in digital products such as laptops, mobile phones, and Bluetooth headsets that are carried by individuals are rich in lithium. Lithium-ion batteries are high-energy storage media. Due to the rapid development of lithium-ion batteries, the development of lithium-ion, lithium carbonate and other companies have flourished. Metal lithium batteries are also used in the military field.

Lithium has been left out for a long time after it was discovered, and only a few lithium compounds have been used in the glass, ceramics and lubricants sectors.

Lithium’s earlier major industrial use was used as a thickener for lubricants in the form of lithium stearate. Lithium-based greases combine high water resistance, high temperature resistance, and good low-temperature performance. If you add a lithium lubricant to some parts of the car, it is enough to use the car to scrap.

In the metallurgical industry, lithium is used as a deoxidizer and a desulfurizer because of its strong reaction with substances such as oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, and sulfur. In the smelting process of copper, adding one in 100,000 to one ten thousandths of lithium can improve the internal structure of copper and make it denser, thereby increasing the conductivity of copper.

Lithium removes harmful impurities and gases from casting high-quality copper castings. Among the high-quality special alloy steels that modern needs, lithium is the most ideal material for removing impurities.

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1kg of lithium burns 42998kJ of heat, so lithium is one of the best metals for rocket fuel. The energy released by 1kg of lithium through the thermonuclear reaction is equivalent to the combustion of more than 20,000 tons of high-quality coal. If a lithium or lithium compound is used as a solid fuel instead of a solid propellant, it is used as a driving force for rockets, missiles, and spacecraft. It has high energy, high burning speed, and high specific impulse. The payload of the rocket is directly It depends on the size of the specific impulse.

If lithium is added to the manufacture of glass, the solubility of lithium glass is only 1/100 of that of ordinary glass (about one ten-thousandth of a gram of glass in each ordinary glass of hot tea), and the addition of lithium makes the glass “never dissolve”. And can resist acid corrosion.

Pure aluminum is too soft. When a small amount of metal such as lithium, magnesium or bismuth is alloyed into aluminum, it is light and extremely hard. Using this alloy to make an aircraft can reduce the weight of the aircraft by 2/3. Two people in the lithium plane can be carried away. Lithium-lead alloy is a good anti-friction material. Lithium Element

What really made lithium a world-famous metal was after its excellent nuclear properties were discovered. Due to its unique properties in the atomic energy industry, it is called “high energy metal”.

The lithium battery is high-quality energy developed in the 1930s and 1940s. It has been widely used in various fields due to its high open-circuit voltage, high specific energy, wide operating temperature range, balanced discharge, and self-discharge. , is a promising power battery. Using a lithium battery to generate electricity to start a car, the driving cost is only 1/3 of that of a regular gasoline engine.

It is made of lithium and used to start the atomic battery pack. It does not need to be charged in the middle and can work continuously for 20 years. One of the important ways to solve the oil crisis and exhaust pollution of automobiles is to develop new batteries such as lithium batteries.

One of the earlier important uses of lithium compounds was in ceramic articles, particularly in enamel articles, the primary role of lithium compounds being as fluxing agents.

Lithium fluoride has a very high transparency to ultraviolet light, and the glass made from it can provide insight into the mysteries hidden in the deepest part of the Milky Way. Lithium glass can be used to make TV tubes.

During the Second World War, American pilots had a light and emergency hydrogen source, hydrogenated lithium pellets. When the plane crashes on the surface of the water, as soon as it hits the water, the lithium hydride immediately dissolves and releases a large amount of hydrogen, causing the life-saving equipment to inflate.

Lithium antimonide and lithium telluride are used instead of antimony and antimony to act as explosives in hydrogen bombs to achieve the purpose of hydrogen bomb explosion. In the first hydrogen bomb that China successfully exploded on June 17, 1967, lithium telluride was used.

Lithium borohydride and lithium aluminum hydride are widely used as reducing agents in organic chemical reactions, and lithium borohydride can reduce aldehydes, ketones, and esters. Lithium aluminum hydride is an important reducing agent in the preparation of pharmaceuticals, perfumes and fine organic chemicals. Lithium aluminum hydride can also be used as jet fuel. Lithium aluminum hydride is a strong reducing agent for the special bonding of complex molecules, and this reagent has become an important reagent for many organic syntheses. Lithium Element

The organolithium compound is reacted with an organic acid to obtain an addition product capable of hydrolyzing to a ketone, and this reaction is used in the step of vitamin A synthesis. The organolithium compound is added to the aldehyde and the ketone to give an addition product of the alcohol upon hydrolysis.

Lithium and ammonia by the reaction of the lithium-amino be used to introduce an amino group, also is used as a dehalogenating agent and a catalyst.


When a wolf eats a meat containing a lithium compound, it can cause indigestion, and the appetite is greatly reduced, thereby changing the habit of the wolf meat. This habit is also hereditary.

Human application of lithium metal has made a good start, but the production process of lithium is complicated and costly. If people solve these problems once, the excellent performance of lithium will be further developed to expand its application range.

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Lithium Uses

Lithium can improve hematopoietic function and improve human immune function. Lithium has a regulating effect on central nervous system activity, which can calm, calm and control nerve disorders. Lithium can replace sodium to prevent cardiovascular disease. The human body needs to consume about 0.1 mg of lithium per day.

The biological necessity and human health effects of lithium. Lithium is an effective mood stabilizer. With the advent of new mood stabilizers, interest in lithium therapy and research has decreased, but lithium is still the most effective treatment for acute mania and manic-depressive preventive management.

Numerous studies have shown that lithium has essential functional or beneficial effects on animals and humans. Lack of lithium in animals can lead to shortened life spans, reproductive abnormalities, behavioral changes, and other abnormalities.

Human epidemiological studies have shown a significant negative correlation between drinking water lithium concentration and psychiatric hospitalization rates, homicide, suicide, robbery, violent crime and drug crime rates.

Nutritional lithium supplementation studies by drug offenders have shown that lithium has an effect of improving and stabilizing mood. Significant reductions in lithium levels were found in heart patients, low-energy learners, and violent prisoners. Clinical studies of lithium carbonate therapy have shown that the main reactive organs of lithium are the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, nerves, muscles, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems. Lithium Element

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The expected serum lithium level was 0.4-0.8 mEq/L (2.78-5.55 mg/L) in the therapeutic dose range of 170-228 mg Li/d, and no toxicity was observed. In the risk assessment of lithium, a 10-fold safety factor for the therapeutic dose is not harmful to pregnant women and fetuses, which is equivalent to 2 mg of Li per day for adults. The NOAEL (non- toxic level of action) of the animals was 10 mgLi/kg/d, and the daily allowable intake (ADI) was 0.31 mg Li/kg/d using a 32-fold safety factor. Based on animal experimental data, the apparent lack of intake of lithium was: goat: <1.5 mg Li/kg, rat: <15 μg Li/kg. The dietary requirement for lithium is about 60-100 μg/d, and the typical daily intake is 200-600 μg. Eggs, milk, dairy products, fish, potatoes and vegetables are rich in Lithium Element.