LITHIUM

Introduction

Atomic Number: 3
Group: 1 or I A
Atomic Weight: 6.941
Period: 2
CAS Number: 7439-93-2

Classification

Chalcogen
Halogen
Noble Gas
Lanthanoid
Actinoid
Rare Earth Element
Platinum Group Metal
Transuranium
No Stable Isotopes
Solid
Liquid
Gas
Solid (Predicted)

Description • Uses/Function

Discovered by Arfvedson in 1817. Lithium is the lightest of all metals, with a density only about half that of water. It does not occur free in nature; combined it is found in small amounts in nearly all igneous rocks and in the waters of many mineral springs. Lepidolite, spodumene, petalite, and amblygonite are the more important minerals containing it. Lithium is presently being recovered from brines of Searles Lake, in California, and from Nevada, Chile, and Argentina. Large deposits of spodumene are found in North Carolina. The metal is produced electrolytically from the fused chloride. Lithium is silvery in appearance, much like Na and K, other members of the alkali metal series. It reacts with water, but not as vigorously as sodium. Lithium imparts a beautiful crimson color to a flame, but when the metal burns strongly the flame is a dazzling white. Since World War II, the production of lithium metal and its compounds has increased greatly. Because the metal has the highest specific heat of any solid element, it has found use in heat transfer applications; however, it is corrosive and requires special handling. The metal has been used as an alloying agent, is of interest in synthesis of organic compounds, and has nuclear applications. It ranks as a leading contender as a battery anode material as it has a high electrochemical potential. Lithium is used in special glasses and ceramics. The glass for the 200-inch telescope at Mt. Palomar contains lithium as a minor ingredient. Lithium chloride is one of the most hygroscopic materials known, and it, as well as lithium bromide, is used in air conditioning and industrial drying systems. Lithium stearate is used as an all-purpose and high-temperature lubricant. Other lithium compounds are used in dry cells and storage batteries. Seven isotopes of lithium are recognized. Natural lithium contains two isotopes. The metal is priced at about $500/kg (99.9%). 1

• "It is used as a heat transfer medium in experimental nuclear reactors. Extremely light lithium-aluminum alloys are used in aircraft construction. Lithium compounds are used in some lightweight dry cells and storage batteries because they have very long lives, even in extreme temperatures...Lithium compounds are used for the treatment of some types of mental disorders (mainly manic depression)." 2

Physical Properties

Melting Point:3*  180.50 °C = 453.65 K = 356.9 °F
Boiling Point:3* 1342 °C = 1615.15 K = 2447.6 °F
Sublimation Point:3 
Triple Point:3 
Critical Point:3 2950 °C = 3223.15 K = 5342 °F 3
Density:4  0.534 g/cm3

* - at 1 atm

Electron Configuration

Electron Configuration: [He] 2s1
Block: s
Highest Occupied Energy Level: 2
Valence Electrons: 1

Quantum Numbers:

n = 2
ℓ = 0
m = 0
ms = +½

Bonding

Electronegativity (Pauling scale):5 0.98
Electropositivity (Pauling scale): 3.02
Electron Affinity:6 0.618049 eV
Oxidation States: +1
Work Function:7 3.10 eV = 4.9662E-19 J

Ionization Potential   eV 8  kJ/mol  
1 5.39172    520.2
Ionization Potential   eV 8  kJ/mol  
2 75.64018    7298.2
Ionization Potential   eV 8  kJ/mol  
3 122.45429    11815.0

Thermochemistry

Specific Heat: 3.582 J/g°C 9 = 24.863 J/mol°C = 0.856 cal/g°C = 5.942 cal/mol°C
Thermal Conductivity: 84.7 (W/m)/K, 27°C 10
Heat of Fusion: 3 kJ/mol 11 = 432.2 J/g
Heat of Vaporization: 145.92 kJ/mol 12 = 21022.9 J/g
State of Matter Enthalpy of Formation (ΔHf°)13 Entropy (S°)13 Gibbs Free Energy (ΔGf°)13
(kcal/mol) (kJ/mol) (cal/K) (J/K) (kcal/mol) (kJ/mol)
(s) 0 0 29.1 121.7544 0 0
(ℓ) 0.569 2.380696 8.11 33.93224 0.223 0.933032
(g) 38.4 160.6656 33.14 138.65776 30.6 128.0304

Isotopes

Nuclide Mass 14 Half-Life 14 Nuclear Spin 14 Binding Energy
10Li 10.035481(16) 2(5)E-21 s [1.2(3) MeV] (1-,2-) 45.76 MeV
11Li 11.043798(21) 8.75(14) ms 3/2- 46.38 MeV
12Li 12.053779(107)# <10 ns 45.14 MeV
4Li 4.02719(23) 91(9)E-24 s [6.3 MeV] 2- 4.69 MeV
5Li 5.01254(5) 370(30)E-24 s [~1.5 MeV] 3/2- 26.37 MeV
6Li 6.015122795(16) STABLE 1+ 32.02 MeV
7Li 7.01600455(8) STABLE 3/2- 39.25 MeV
8Li 8.022487359(10) 840.3(9) ms 2+ 41.36 MeV
9Li 9.026789499(21) 178.3(4) ms 3/2- 45.42 MeV
Values marked # are not purely derived from experimental data, but at least partly from systematic trends. Spins with weak assignment arguments are enclosed in parentheses. 14

Reactions

Abundance

Earth - Source Compounds: silicates 18
Earth - Seawater: 0.18 mg/L 19
Earth -  Crust:  20 mg/kg = 0.002% 19
Earth -  Total:  1.85 ppm 20
Mercury -  Total:  0.87 ppm 20
Venus -  Total:  1.94 ppm 20
Chondrites - Total: ~50 (relative to 106 atoms of Si) 21

Compounds

Safety Information

NFPA 704 Ratings:
Health: 3 - Short exposure could cause serious temporary or moderate residual injury.
Flammability: 0 - Will not burn.
Reactivity: 2 - Undergoes violent chemical change at elevated temperatures and pressures, reacts violently with water, or may form explosive mixtures with water.
Special Hazard: W - Reacts with water in an unusual or dangerous manner.

Material Safety Data Sheet - ACI Alloys, Inc.

For More Information

External Links:

Magazines:
(1) Moyer, Michael. How Much is Left?. Scientific American, September 2010, pp 74-81.
(2) Fischetti, Mark. Charge Under Control. Scientific American, August 2010, pp 26-27.

Sources

(1) - Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 83rd ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2002; p 4:18.
(2) - Whitten, Kenneth W., Davis, Raymond E., and Peck, M. Larry. General Chemistry 6th ed.; Saunders College Publishing: Orlando, FL, 2000; p 924.
(3) - Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 83rd ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2002; p 4:132.
(4) - Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 84th ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2002; p 4:39-4:96.
(5) - Dean, John A. Lange's Handbook of Chemistry, 11th ed.; McGraw-Hill Book Company: New York, NY, 1973; p 4:8-4:149.
(6) - Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 84th ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2002; p 10:147-10:148.
(7) - Speight, James. Lange's Handbook of Chemistry, 16th ed.; McGraw-Hill Professional: Boston, MA, 2004; p 1:132.
(8) - Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 83rd ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2002; p 10:178 - 10:180.
(9) - Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 83rd ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2002; p 4:133.
(10) - Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 83rd ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2002; pp 6:193, 12:219-220.
(11) - Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 83rd ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2002; pp 6:123-6:137.
(12) - Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 83rd ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2002; pp 6:107-6:122.
(13) - Dean, John A. Lange's Handbook of Chemistry, 12th ed.; McGraw-Hill Book Company: New York, NY, 1979; p 9:4-9:94.
(14) - Atomic Mass Data Center. http://amdc.in2p3.fr/web/nubase_en.html (accessed July 14, 2009).
(15) - T < 1358.27773574524
(16) - T > -6504.82033304119
(17) - T < 11263.3606162735
(18) - Silberberg, Martin S. Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change, 4th ed.; McGraw-Hill Higher Education: Boston, MA, 2006, p 965.
(19) - Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 83rd ed.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, 2002; p 14:17.
(20) - Morgan, John W. and Anders, Edward, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 77, 6973-6977 (1980)
(21) - Brownlow, Arthur. Geochemistry; Prentice-Hall, Inc.: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1979, pp 15-16.