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Lithium ( Li )

Material Information

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Foil Rod
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General Description:  

Discovered in 1817 by J.A. Arfvedson in Stockholm, Sweden, and isolated by W.T. Brande in 1821.

Lithium is a soft, silver metal, and is the first member of the alkali group of metals. It is the lightest of all metals and, whilst resembling sodium chemically, it is less active. As is the case for other alkali group elements, it is obtained by the electrolysis of the fused halides. The abundance of lithium in the earth's crust is 20 ppm.

Lithium reacts slowly in water and in air where it eventually forms a black coating of oxide. This means that this metal tends to be stored under oil to prevent deterioration. Lithium is used as an alloying agent with aluminum and magnesium, and in the manufacture of batteries. Compounds of lithium are used in various applications; for example, lithium 12-hydroxy stearate is used in high performance greases as it provides good water resistance and good low temperature performance; lithium hydride is a strong reducing agent and is used as a source of hydrogen, and lithium carbonate is used as a tranquiliser and in the treatment of some mental illnesses. Lithium and its compounds also find applications in the manufacture of glass and ceramics.


Atomic Properties

Atomic number 3
Atomic radius - Goldschmidt ( nm ) 0.157
Atomic weight ( amu ) 6.941
Crystal structure Body centred cubic
Electronic structure He 2s1
Ionization potential No. eV
1 5.39
2 75.6
3 122.4
Natural isotope distribution Mass No. %
6 7.5
7 92.5
Photo-electric work function ( eV ) 2.4
Thermal neutron absorption cross-section ( Barns ) 63
Valences shown 1

Electrical Properties

Electrical resistivity @20C ( µOhmcm ) 9.29
Temperature coefficient @0-100C ( K-1 ) 0.00435
Thermal emf against Pt (cold 0C - hot 100C) ( mV ) +1.82

Mechanical Properties

Material condition Polycrystalline
Bulk modulus ( GPa ) 11.1
Hardness - Vickers <5
Poisson's ratio 0.36
Tensile modulus ( GPa ) 4.91

Physical Properties

Boiling point ( C ) 1342
Density @20C ( g cm-3 ) 0.534
Melting point ( C ) 180.5

Thermal Properties

Coefficient of thermal expansion @0-100C ( x10-6 K-1 ) 56
Latent heat of evaporation ( J g-1 ) 19600
Latent heat of fusion ( J g-1 ) 422
Specific heat @25C ( J K-1 kg-1 ) 3560
Thermal conductivity @0-100C ( W m-1 K-1 ) 84.8
All information and technical data are given as a guide only. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty is given as to its completeness or accuracy.

Buy Lithium on-line

We stock and supply the following standard forms:
Foil Rod
Foil Rod

Choose a form to search our on-line catalog