|Melting Point||453.5 K (356.9°F)|
|Boiling Point||1615 K (2447.6°F)|
|Density||0.534 grams / cubic centimeter|
|Phase at Room Temperature||Solid|
|What's in a name?||From the Greek word for stone, lithos.|
|Say what?||Lithium is pronounced as LITH-i-em|
Lithium was discovered in the mineral petalite (LiAl(Si2O5)2) by Johann August Arfvedson in 1817. It was first isolated by William Thomas Brande and Sir Humphrey Davy through the electrolysis of lithium oxide (Li2O). Today, larger amounts of the metal are obtained through the electrolysis of lithium chloride (LiCl). Lithium is not found free in nature and makes up only 0.0007% of the earth's crust.
Lithium is a very soft silvery-gray metallic element listed on the periodic table of elements as Li. Lithium is used in a number of industries for different purposes in the form of alloys and compounds. Lithium can be found in rocks and the bulk of lithium extraction use igneous rocks as a source. The light weight of this metal makes it a popular choice in batteries and it also has a high electrochemical potential, meaning that the metal can store energy.
Many uses have been found for lithium and its compounds. Lithium has the highest specific heat of any solid element and is used in heat transfer applications. It is used to make special glasses and ceramics, including the Mount Palomar telescope's 200 inch mirror. Lithium is the lightest known metal and can be alloyed with aluminum, copper, manganese, and cadmium to make strong, lightweight metals for aircraft. Lithium hydroxide (LiOH) is used to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of spacecraft. Lithium salts are used to synthesize cathode material for lithium ion batteries.
In primary lithium metal battery it is used as anode. Lithium stearate (LiC18H35O2) is used as a general purpose and high temperature lubricant. Lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) is used as a drug to treat manic depression disorder.