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. 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 aluminium and magnesium, and in the manufacture of batteries. Lithium and its compounds also find applications in the manufacture of glass and ceramics. In a nuclear fusion device, lithium is important as a source of tritium.


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

The natural abundance of lithium on earth is 7.4% Li6 and 92.6% Li7.

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Atomic number 3 Clip
Atomic / Molecular Weight 6.941 gmol-1Clip
Density 533 kgm-3Clip
Crystal Structure hcp / fcc at 74K then fcc / bcc at 140K Clip
Lattice constant 351 fmClip
Melting Point 453.76 KClip
Boiling Point 1633 KClip
Specific heat capacity 3390 Jkg-1K-1Clip
Thermal conductivity 86 Wm-1K-1Clip
Bulk Modulus of Rigidity 11100000000 Nm-2Clip
Electromotive Series 3.02 VClip
Electrical Conductivity 10800000 Sm-1Clip
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See also: Berzelius, Jons Jakobs, Periodic Table, Tritium.

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Subjects: Chemistry