Lithium

By Cambrey Johnson

Overview

  • This soft, silvery metal is a solid at room temperature.
  • The atomic mass is 6.941 amu.
  • The density is 0.53 g/L.
  • The melting point is 453.7 K.
  • The boiling point is 1615 K.
  • The crystal structure is cubic.
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About Lithium

The family that Lithium belongs to is the Akali metals. The element was discovered in 1817 by a man named Johan August Arfredson. Lithium was discovered from a mineral instead of plant material like other metals. It has the lowest density of all metals. Lithium is toxic unless it is in small doses. Lithium was first isolated by William Thomas Brande and Sir Humphrey Davy. Because lithium is so soft, you can cut it with a butter knife. Also, lithium's low density causes it to be able to float on water. The combination of lithium and water forms lithium hydroxide and hydrogen, which usually burst into red flames. Lithium was also one of the three elements that were found to have been produced in large quantities in the Big Bang. The US has one lithium mine, in Nevada. Currently Chile and Australia produce the most lithium in the world.

Uses

Lithium is used for/in

  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Made into alloys with aluminum and magnesium
  • Lithium oxide is used in glasses and ceramics
  • Lithium chloride is one of the most hygroscopic materials known
  • Lithium carbonate is used in drugs to treat bipolar disorder
  • Lithium hydride is used for storing hydrogen
  • Used in thermonuclear weapons

Atomic information

Lithium has an atomic mass of 6.941. Lithium has 3 protons and 4 neutrons. Lithium has 10 isotopes, but only 2 are stable. The Most common isotopes are Li-7 (92.41 percent natural abundance) and Li-6 (7.59 percent natural abundance).