Lithium is the lightest of all metals. For this reason, it could theoretically float easily on water.
Pure lithium is very reactive and exists in nature only in minerals, such as lepidolite and petalite.
Many lithium minerals dissolve well in water, and therefore seawater around the world contains millions of tons of dissolved lithium. In addition, it is found in many foods, such as: shrimps, prawns, mushrooms, nuts and seeds.
On the other hand, it has many everyday applications. Glass made from lithium is heat resistant and is used in scientific equipment such as telescope mirrors. Its main use is in rechargeable batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are small but powerful, making them ideal for small electronic devices. Larger lithium batteries can power electric vehicles.
Lithium stearate is a soapy compound used to produce industrial oils. This helps automobile engines to run smoothly. This element is also used in the manufacture of resistant ceramics used in the fabrication of artificial teeth. Finally, lithium compounds are also used in some medicines.
Summary of properties (Li)
|Atomic weight||[6.938, 6.997]|
|Discoverer (year)||Arfvedson, Johan August (1817)|
|Natural form||metallic solid (body centered cubic)|
|Electron configuration||[He] 2s1|
|Melting point (ºC)||180|
|Boiling point (ºC)||1347|
|Abundance in earth's crust (ppm)||20|
|Isotope (abundance)||6Li (7.59), 7Li (92.41)|
|Van der Waals radius (pm)||182|
|Covalent radius (pm)||130|
|Vaporization enthalpy (kJ/mol)||134.70|
|Enthalpy of fusion (kJ/mol)||3.00|
|Specific heat capacity (J/g·K) at 25ºC and 1 atm||3.58|
|Thermal conductivity (W/cm·K) at 25ºC and 1 atm||0.850|
|Electron affinity (eV)||0.62|
|1st Ionization potential (eV)||5.3917|