Part of the General Knowledge Show.
A factfile on the element Lithium. Li.
Name of Element: Lithium
Atomic Number: 3
Relative Atomic Mass: 7
Electron Configuration: 2.1
Boiling Point: 1615K = 1342°C = 2448°F
Melting Point: 453.69K = 180.54°C = 356.97°F
Group: 1 = Alkali metals
State at Room Temperature: Solid
Soft metal (Can be cut with a knife)
Silver-White in colour
Least Dense solid element at room temperature
Lowest melting point in the metals
Highly flammable (normally stored in mineral oil)
Corrodes quickly to become dull silver-grey in colour
Never occurs uncombined in nature due to high reactivity
Nuclei of Li is near to being unstable
Has a single valence electron
Reacts easily with water to form hydrogen and lithium hydroxide.
Lithium compounds burn with a crimson flame in a flame test
Lithium fires can only be put out with a Class D dry powder fire extinguisher.
Lithium is the only metal which reacts with nitrogen under normal conditions.
Used in Lithium batteries, which are disposable.
Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable and are used in hybrid cars because lithium-ion has high electrochemical potential
Lithium niobate is used to make resonant crystals for the telecommunications industry, to be used in optical modulators and mobile phones.
Used in coolants in heat transfer applications
Used to treat gout (1800s)
Lithium carbonate, lithium citrate and lithium orotate are used as mood stabilisers
Used to treat mania, depression and bipolar disorder
Used to treat SIADH (syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone hypersecretion)
Help to prevent cluster headaches and migraine
Used in the preparation of organotithium compounds
Lithium soap(lithium stearate) is used to thicken oils and to produce high-temperature lubricating greases.
Lithium compounds are also used in fireworks and flares as they burn red.
Lithium is used as a neutron absorber in nuclear fusion
Lithium-6 is used in nuclear weapons
Lithium-7 is used as a coolant during nuclear reactions.
Lithium is corrosive, and so skin contact should be avoided.
Inhaling lithium dust or lithium compounds can irritate the nose and throat, and continuous or higher exposure can lead to pulmonary oedema or fluid in the lungs.
Caustic hydroxide is produced when lithium comes in contact with moisture, which makes handling dangerous.
When taken during the first trimester of pregnancy lithium can increase the chance of the baby developing Ebstein’s cardiac anomaly.