What is a Lithium
Lithium is a chemical element. Under normal conditions it is the lightest metal in nature and the lowest density solid. Chemically, it is a member of the alkali metal group and, like other alkali metals, is highly reactive, that is, it reacts rapidly with other substances. If it is kept in the air, it quickly starts reacting with the oxygen present in the air, which manifests itself in catching fire soon.
For this reason it is kept immersed in oil. It is shiny when it is cut out of oil, but soon it loses its luster by becoming brown at first and then turns black. Because of its greater reactivity, it is never found in its pure form in nature, but is found only in compounds with other elements. Due to its low density, lithium is very light and despite being a metal, it can be easily cut with a knife.
Lithium (Li) is a chemical element with the number “3” and the atomic mass of 6.941. Lithium occurs naturally as two stable nuclides: 6Li (7.6%) by mass and 7Li (92.4%). In the periodic table, lithium is located in the second period, the first group. The element belongs to the alkali metals. In compounds, lithium exhibits an oxidation state of +1. As a simple substance, lithium is a plastic-like light metal with a silver tinge.
Lithium is the lightest of all metals. It has a density of 0.534 g/cm. It melts at 180.5 °C, boils at 1330 °C. Lithium is very active. Reacts with oxygen and nitrogen in the air under normal conditions. For this reason, lithium is rapidly oxidized in air with the formation of a dark coating of the reaction products.
Reaction Equation: 4Li + O₂ = 2Li₂O;
6Li + N₂ = 2Li₃N.
Discovery of Lithium
Lithium was discovered by Swedish scientist Arfvedsen in 1817. First, the chemist discovered the element in the mineral petalite, and then in spodumene and lepidolite. The metal got its name due to the fact that it was found in “stones” (translated from Greek lithos “stone”).
In 1818, the German chemist Gmelin first observed the red flame characteristic of lithium salts. In 1821, the English chemist William Thomas Brand succeeded in separating the metal by electrolysis. Large quantities of lithium were obtained in 1855 by electrolysis of molten chlorides.
Lithium is abundant in the Earth’s crust, with the metal being about 3%. Lithium is mainly found in the following minerals: petalite, spodumene, lepidolite, and amblygonite. As an impurity, lithium is contained in some rock-forming minerals and is present in salt water and salt water in some lakes.
Reaction of Lithium with Oxygen
Alkali metals and their compounds are widely used in technology. Lithium is used in nuclear power engineering. In particular, the 6Li isotope serves as an industrial source for the production of tritium, and the 7Li isotope is used as a coolant. LIF is used in melting aluminum. Lithium and its compounds are also used as additives in rocket fuel.
Lubricants containing lithium compounds retain their properties at elevated temperatures. Lithium hydroxide is part of the electrolyte of alkaline batteries, (Reaction of Lithium with Oxygen) which prolongs their service life by two to three times. Lithium is also used in the ceramic, glass and other chemical industries. In general, in terms of importance in modern technology, this metal is one of the most important elements.
The reaction of lithium with oxygen produces Li₂O oxide, a colorless crystalline substance with a melting point of 1438 °C and a boiling point of about 2600 °C. Lithium oxide is obtained by direct oxidation of metal lithium at temperatures above 200 ° C, as well as by decomposition of LiOH hydroxide, LiNO₃ nitrate, Li₂CO₂ carbonate.
Lithium oxide Li₂O readily reacts with water to form the hydroxide, LiOH. This reaction occurs with strong heating; LiOH absorbs CO₂ from the air to form the carbonate, Li₂CO₃.
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