Lithium (atomic symbol: Li, atomic number: 3) is a Block S, Group 1, Period 2 element with an atomic weight of 6.94. Lithium is corrosive and requires special handling. It belongs to group 1 and period 2 of the periodic table and has an atomic number of 3. The lithium-7 isotope, the more common stable isotope, has a low nuclear cross section (that is, it absorbs neutrons very poorly) and thus has potential as a primary coolant for nuclear reactors in which coolant temperatures above about 800 °C (1,500 °F) are required. Its the lightest solid metal, its soft, silvery-white, with a low melting point and reactive. Lithium salts have complex effects when absorbed into the body. The lithium is ladled from the cell and cast by pouring it into a mold at a temperature only slightly above the melting point, leaving the solidified electrolyte behind. Generally, elemental sodium is more reactive than lithium, and it reacts with water to form a strong base, sodium hydroxide (NaOH).Its chemistry is well explored.. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Lithium with the Symbol 'Li' is an element with the atomic number 3. Because of its light weight and large negative electrochemical potential, lithium metal, either pure or in the presence of other elements, serves as the anode (negative electrode) in many nonrechargeable lithium primary batteries. They form concentrated brines capable of absorbing aerial moisture over a wide range of temperatures; these brines are commonly employed in large refrigerating and air-conditioning systems. Until the 1990s the lithium chemical and metal market was dominated by American production from mineral deposits, but by the turn of the 21st century most production was derived from non-U.S. sources; Australia, Chile, and Portugal were the world’s largest suppliers. A key reagent that is produced commercially on a large scale is n-butyllithium, C4H9Li. The lithium atom has a radius of 152 pm and a Van der Waals radius of 181 pm. Lithium fluoride (LiF) is used chiefly as a fluxing agent in enamels and glasses. Reactions of organolithium compounds are also similar to the Grignard reactions of organomagnesium compounds, a standard synthetic procedure in organic chemistry. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Chemical properties. It is non-magnetic, holds excellent thermal conductivity and resists attack by concentrated nitric acid. Lithium has a melting point of 180.54 C, a boiling point of 1342 C, a specific gravity of 0.534 (20 C), and a valence of 1. Nuclear properties. It has also been found in the minerals spodumene and lepidolite. Lithium, which exhibits no natural radioactivity, has two isotopes of mass number 6 (92.5 percent) and 7 (7.5 percent). Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? The lithium-7/lithium-6 ratio is between 12 and 13. Like all alkali metals it has a single valence electron that it readily gives up to form a cation or compound. In many respects lithium also shows similarities to the elements of the alkaline-earth group, especially magnesium, which has similar atomic and ionic radii. It is the lightest of the metals, with a density approximately half that of water. Lithium and Magnesium shows similar chemical properties because of Diagonal relationship. Lithium stearate is used as a high-temperature lubricant. Since the early 1990s much work has been done on high-power rechargeable lithium storage batteries for electric vehicles and for power storage. Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. 7 Li is more common. Common chemical compounds are also provided for many elements. OTHER SETS BY THIS CREATOR. The principal industrial applications for lithium metal are in metallurgy, where the active element is used as a scavenger (remover of impurities) in the refining of such metals as iron, nickel, copper, and zinc and their alloys. Its high electrochemical potential makes it useful for battery anodes. Lithium has potential value as a heat-transfer fluid for high power-density nuclear reactors. Beryllium resists oxidation when exposed to air at standard temperature and pressure. Lightweight lithium-magnesium alloys and tough lithium-aluminum alloys, harder than aluminum alone, have structural applications in the aerospace and other industries. Lithium is utilized to a considerable extent in organic synthesis, both in laboratory reactions and industrially. Fears about lithium toxicity delayed its approval for many years, but it is now the major drug for the treatment of manic episodes and for maintenance therapy in bipolar patients. Lithium (from Greek lithos 'stone') is a soft, silver-white metal with symbol Li.It is the third chemical element in the periodic table.This means that it has 3 protons in its nucleus and 3 electrons around it. It may be toxic by ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption. The use of lithium salts and mineral water containing them to treat gout (unsuccessfully) and to ward off depression (successfully) dates to the last half of the 19th century but fell into medical disrepute in the early 20th century. It is a part of the alkali metal group of chemical elements. ITS SOURCES ARE LIMITED. Lithium chloride and lithium bromide are highly hygroscopic, so they are used as drying agents. Other industrially important compounds include lithium chloride (LiCl) and lithium bromide (LiBr). Many of these differ markedly in solubility from the corresponding compounds of the other alkali metals. Characteristic of a salt-like (ionic) hydride, it has a high melting point, and it is not soluble but reactive with all protic organic solvents. At ordinary temperature it is unaffected by dry oxygen or air, but the presence of moisture causes oxidation. Lithium Physical Data Density (g/cc): 0.534 Appearance: soft, silvery-white metal Isotopes: 8 isotopes [Li-4 to Li-11]. It is used to make other chemicals. It is known that two hydrogen atoms combine to form a molecule of hydrogen gas. Here are important facts about this element. It has two common isotopes, 6 Li and 7 Li. Between the most significant properties of lithium we find its high specific heat (calorific capacity), the huge temperature interval in the liquid state, high termic conductivity, low viscosity and very low density. The bombardment of lithium-6 with slow neutrons produces helium and tritium (3H); this reaction is a major source of tritium production. Chemical properties Beryllium reacts with acids and with water to form hydrogen gas. Under ordinary conditions, lithium is the least dense of the solid elements. Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich. 118 Names and Symbols of the Periodic Table Quiz. The pure lithium formed at the cathode coalesces at the surface of the electrolyte to form a molten pool, which is protected from reaction with air by a thin film of the electrolyte. Metallic lithium is silvery in appearance. Lithium has the highest specific heat of any solid element, and is the lightest known metal. Lithium is the only alkali metal that reacts with nitrogen. It is found in 30 different minerals of which bertrandite, phenakite, and Beryl are the most important. Many of its physical and chemical properties are more similar to those of the alkaline earth metals than to those of its own group. The major commercial form is lithium carbonate, Li2CO3, produced from ores or brines by a number of different processes. The remelting step reduces the potassium content to less than 100 parts per million. Since the voltage at which decomposition of lithium chloride takes place is lower than that of potassium chloride, lithium is deposited at a purity level greater than 97 percent. Lithium does not occur free in nature. People depend of Lithium Batteries almost everyday if not everyday, knowing it or not! Lithium metal, which can be drawn into wire and rolled into sheets, is softer than lead but harder than the other alkali metals and has the body-centred cubic crystal structure. Spontaneous ignition is likely if heated to melting point. Like all alkali metals, lithium is highly reactive and flammable, and is stored in mineral oil. 4. react vigorously with acids. Atomic Radius (pm): 155 Atomic Volume (cc/mol): 13.1 … More than half of the world's lithium supply comes from high-altitude … Reaction with air, water, and hydrogen. Lithium has medical applications as well. Lithi­um (Li) is a chem­i­cal el­e­ment with the atom­ic num­ber of 3 and an atom­ic mass of 6.941. The chemical symbol for Lithium is Li. A number of the lithium compounds have practical applications. Lithium. Lithium is the first of the alkalis in the periodic table. The metal itself—which is soft, white, and lustrous—and several of its alloys and compounds are produced on an industrial scale. Lithium hydroxide is also used as an additive in the electrolyte of alkaline storage batteries and as an absorbent for carbon dioxide. Many of its physical and chemical properties are more similar to those of the alkaline earth metals than to those of its own group. In 1817, Johan August Arfvedson of Stockholm analysed it and deduced it contained a previously unknown metal, which he called lithium. In nature its found like a mixture of the isotopes Li6 and Li7. Properties of the lightest metal. 7. has one valency or outer shell electron. Graphite anodes are used in the electrolytic production of lithium, while the cathodes are made of steel. Chemical properties Lithium is an active element, but not as active as the other alkali metals. Organolithium compounds, in which the lithium atom is not present as the Li+ ion but is attached directly to a carbon atom, are useful in making other organic compounds. Lithium is used in heat transfer applications. It is found in small amounts in practically all igneous rocks and in the waters of mineral springs. 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