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About Lithium

Lithium Bohr

As the third element on the periodic table, Lithium is lighter and less dense than all other elements except for helium and hydrogen; it is one of three elements that can float on water (fellow alkali metals sodium and potassium being the other two). Lithium also has the highest specific heat and electrochemical potential of all elements and is the only stable light element that can produce net energy via nuclear fission. In the scope of the alkali metals, lithium possesses some of the common basic properties: it is a soft, silver-white lustrous metal that rapidly oxidizes in air to a gray tarnish and is highly reactive with water, though not as violently as the others due to the proximity of its valence electrons to its nucleus. However, it stands apart from the rest of the alkali metals in that it has the highest melting and boiling points and is the only stable one that reacts with nitrogen. Lithium has excellent thermal and electrical conductivity and has been shown to exhibit superconductivity below 400K and ferromagnetism as a gas. The element is considered both toxic and corrosive and must be handled with extreme care.

Lithium was one of the first three “primordial” elements synthesized in the big bang; though present in stars, it does not occur on earth in its elemental form due to its high reactivity. Natural lithium is composed of two stable isotopes, lithium-6 (7.6%) and lithium-7 (92.4%) with extremely low binding energies; compounds of lithium are present in certain pegmatite minerals such as graphite, and its soluble ions can be found dissolved in seawater, mineral springs, clays, and brines. In 1807, Johan August Arvedson first discovered the element in a sample of petalite (LiAlSi4O10), and thus the element's name derives from lithos, Greek for “stone.” Currently, lithium is extracted via the electrolysis of molten lithium chloride and potassium chloride or lithium aluminum silicate

One of the most well-known uses of lithium is in high-performance, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power electric and hybrid vehicles, and electronics, and smartphones. Energy in these batteries is generated by the movement of lithium ions from a negative anode to a positive cathode separated by an electrolyte solution of lithium salts. As opposed to disposable lithium batteries that use pure lithium metal as the cathode material, cathodes in lithium-ion batteries are composed of intercalated lithium-based compounds such as lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2), lithium iron phosphate (LFP), lithium manganese oxide (LMO) lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC), lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA) and lithium titanate (LTO). Safety concerns about the tendency of the current crop of lithium-ion batteries to catch fire have prompted much research into alternative electrode materials that could not only eliminate the dangers of overheating but also make them more efficient, longer-lasting, and more cost effective. Experimental materials have included tin oxide, silicon nanotubes, stainless steel, tin nanocrystals, vanadium oxide, graphene, carbon nanotubes, iron nitridophosphate, polymer-coated titanium oxide, iron oxide nanoparticlefs, copper foam, lithium molybdenum chromium oxide, lithium borosilicide, and nitrogen-doped carbon-sulfur nanocomposites. Promising lithium-based alternatives to ion batteries are under development such as lithium-sulfur batteries and lithium-air batteries; researchers are also experimenting with materials for next-generation batteries that eliminate lithium entirely such as nickel colbatite, zinc-manganese oxide thin films, and organic polymers.

Lithium has numerous other applications besides battery technologies. The metal’s high specific heat makes it useful in heat transfer applications, heat-resistant glass and ceramics components, and as a strengthening agent in lightweight high-performance aluminum and magnesium alloys. Compounds such as lithium chloride, lithium bromide, lithium hydroxide, and lithium peroxide are hydroscopic absorbent materials used in air purification and industrial desiccation; lithium stearate is an all-purpose, high-temperature lubricant, and other lithium compounds are also a frequent component of soaps, red colorants in fireworks, and metallurgy fluxes for welding and storage. Lithium has been used in military and defense capacities: lithium deuteride drives the reaction of the hydrogen bomb, and lithium hydrides can be used in rocket propellants. In the field of optoelectronics, non-linear crystals like lithium fluoride and lithium niobate are used for UV, visible, and IR applications such as sensors, photonic devices, optical lenses, modulators, and smartphones. Lithium niobate (LiNBO3) is notable for being a ferroelectric material with the lowest refractive index and farthest transmission in the UV range of common materials. Laboratories also employ lithium in biomedical and organic chemistry functions: organolithium reagents are frequently used to synthesize polymers, catalysts, and initiators, and though the element has no inherent biological function in the human body, lithium carbonate the main component of mood-stabilizing pharmaceuticals for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Vaporized lithium is an experimental material for shielding the walls of plasma fusion devices.

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Lithium is alloyed with aluminum and magnesium to form lightweight metals. It is also used in batteries, optical glasses, and in medicine. High Purity (99.999%) Lithium (Li) Sputtering TargetHigh Purity (99.999%) Lithium Oxide (Li2O) PowderLithium stearate is a common high temperature lubricant. Elemental or metallic forms of lithium include pellets, rod, wire and granules for evaporation source material purposes. Lithium oxides are available in powder and dense pellet forms for such uses as optical coating and thin film applications. Oxides tend to be insoluble. Lithium fluoride is another insoluble form for uses in which oxygen is undesirable such as metallurgy, chemical and physical vapor deposition and in some optical coatings. Lithium is available in soluble forms including lithium chloride, lithium nitrate, and lithium acetate. These compounds are also manufactured as solutions at specified stoichiometries.

Lithium Properties

Lithium (Li) atomic and molecular weight, atomic number and elemental symbol

Lithium is a Block S, Group 1, Period 2 element. The number of electrons in each of Lithium's shells is 2, 1 and its electronic configuration is [He] 2s1. The lithium atom has a radius of and its Van der Waals radius is In its elemental form, CAS 7439-93-2, lithium has a silvery white appearance.Lithium Bohr Model Lithium is a member of the alkali group of metals. It has the highest specific heat and electrochemical potential of any material, making it important in applications involving heat transfer and as the anode in batteries. Elemental Lithium Because of its high reactivity, Lithium does not occur naturally in elemental form. Lithium was first discovered by Johann Arvedson in 1807. The origin of the name Lithium comes from the Greek word lithose which means "stone". Lithium information, including technical data, safety data, high purity properties, research, applications and other useful facts are discussed below. Scientific facts such as the atomic structure, ionization energy, abundance on earth, conductivity and thermal properties are also included.

Symbol: Li
Atomic Number: 3
Atomic Weight: 6.94
Element Category: alkali metal
Group, Period, Block: 1, 2, s
Color: silvery white/gray
Other Names: N/A
Melting Point: 180.54 °C, 356.97 °F, 453.69 K
Boiling Point: 1342 °C, 2448 °F, 1615 K
Density: 0.534 g·cm-3
Liquid Density @ Melting Point: 0.512 g·cm-3
Density @ 20°C: 0.53 g·/cm-3
Density of Solid: 535 kg·m-3
Specific Heat: 3.56 (at 25 °C in J/g°C)
Superconductivity Temperature: N/A
Triple Point: N/A
Critical Point: (extrapolated)
3220 K, 67 Mpa
Heat of Fusion (kJ·mol-1): 4.6
Heat of Vaporization (kJ·mol-1): 147.7
Heat of Atomization (kJ·mol-1): 157.8
Thermal Conductivity: 84.8 W·m-1·K-1
Thermal Expansion: (25 °C) 46 µm·m-1·K-1
Electrical Resistivity: (20 °C) 92.8 nΩ·m
Tensile Strength: N/A
Molar Heat Capacity: 24.860 J·mol-1·K-1
Young's Modulus: 4.9 GPa
Shear Modulus: 4.2 GPa
Bulk Modulus: 11 GPa
Poisson Ratio: N/A
Mohs Hardness: 0.6
Vickers Hardness: N/A
Brinell Hardness: N/A
Speed of Sound: (20 °C) 6000 m·s-1
Pauling Electronegativity: 0.98
Sanderson Electronegativity: 0.89
Allred Rochow Electronegativity: 0.97
Mulliken-Jaffe Electronegativity: 0.97 (s orbital)
Allen Electronegativity: 0.912
Pauling Electropositivity: 3.02
Reflectivity (%): N/A
Refractive Index: N/A
Electrons: 3
Protons: 3
Neutrons: 4
Electron Configuration: [He] 2s1
Atomic Radius: 152 pm
Atomic Radius,
non-bonded (Å):
Covalent Radius: 128±7 pm
Covalent Radius (Å): 1.3
Van der Waals Radius: 182 pm
Oxidation States: +1 (strongly basic oxide)
Phase: Solid
Crystal Structure: body-centered cubic
Magnetic Ordering: paramagnetic
Electron Affinity (kJ·mol-1) 59.612
1st Ionization Energy: 520.23 kJ·mol-1
2nd Ionization Energy: 7298.22 kJ·mol-1
3rd Ionization Energy: 11815.13 kJ·mol-1
CAS Number: 7439-93-2
EC Number: 231-102-5
MDL Number: MFCD00134051
Beilstein Number: N/A
SMILES Identifier: [Li]
InChI Identifier: InChI=1S/Li
PubChem CID: 3028194
ChemSpider ID: 2293625
Earth - Total: 1.85 ppm 
Mercury - Total: 0.87 ppm
Venus - Total: 1.94 ppm
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by weight: 180
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by atoms: 160
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by weight: 17000
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by atoms: 50000
Sun - Total, ppb by weight: 0.06
Sun - Total, ppb by atoms: 0.01
Stream, ppb by weight: 3000
Stream, ppb by atoms: 430
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by weight: 1700
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by atoms: 4600
Typical Human Body, ppb by weight: 30
Typical Human Body, ppb by atom: 27
Universe, ppb by weight: 6
Universe, ppb by atom: 1
Discovered By: Johan August Arfwedson
Discovery Date: 1817
First Isolation: William Thomas Brande(1821)

Health, Safety & Transportation Information for Lithium

Lithium is both toxic and corrosive. Safety data for Lithium and its compounds can vary widely depending on the form. For potential hazard information, toxicity, and road, sea and air transportation limitations, such as DOT Hazard Class, DOT Number, EU Number, NFPA Health rating and RTECS Class, please see the specific material or compound referenced in the Products tab. The below information is for elemental (metallic) lithium.

Safety Data
Signal Word Danger
Hazard Statements H260-H314
Hazard Codes F,C
Risk Codes 14/15-34
Safety Precautions 8-43-45
RTECS Number OJ5540000
Transport Information UN 1415 4.3/PG 1
WGK Germany 2
Globally Harmonized System of
Classification and Labelling (GHS)
Corrosion-Corrosive to metals Flame-Flammables
Review and Print SDS Lithium Metal


Date Created: 05/15/2015
Date Revised: 05/15/2015


Product Name: Lithium Metal

Product Number: All applicable American Elements product codes, e.g. LI-M-02, LI-M-03, LI-M-04, LI-M-05

CAS #: 7439-93-2

Relevant identified uses of the substance: Scientific research and development

Supplier details:
American Elements
1093 Broxton Ave. Suite 2000
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: +1 310-208-0551
Fax: +1 310-208-0351

Emergency telephone number:
Domestic, North America +1 800-424-9300
International +1 703-527-3887


Classification of the substance or mixture
Classification according to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008
GHS02 Flame
Water-react. 1 H260 In contact with water releases flammable gases which may ignite spontaneously.
GHS05 Corrosion
Skin Corr. 1B H314 Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.
Classification according to Directive 67/548/EEC or Directive 1999/45/EC
C; Corrosive
R34: Causes burns.
F; Highly flammable
R14/15: Reacts violently with water, liberating extremely flammable gases.
Information concerning particular hazards for human and environment:
Not applicable
Hazards not otherwise classified
No information known.
Label elements
Labelling according to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008
The substance is classified and labeled according to the CLP regulation.
Hazard pictograms

Flame - GHS02 Corrosion - GHS05

Signal word
Hazard statements
H260 In contact with water releases flammable gases which may ignite spontaneously.
H314 Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.
Precautionary statements
P231+P232 Handle under inert gas. Protect from moisture.
P260 Do not breathe dust/fume/gas/mist/vapours/spray.
P303+P361+P353 IF ON SKIN (or hair): Remove/Take off immediately all contaminated clothing. Rinse skin with water/shower.
P305+P351+P338 IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing.
P405 Store locked up.
P501 Dispose of contents/container in accordance with local/regional/
national/international regulations.
WHMIS classification
B6 - Reactive flammable material
D2B - Toxic material causing other toxic effects
E - Corrosive material
Classification system
HMIS ratings (scale 0-4)
(Hazardous Materials Identification System)
Health (acute effects) = 3
Flammability = 3
Physical Hazard = 3
Other hazards
Results of PBT and vPvB assessment
Not applicable.
Not applicable.


Chemical characterization: Substances
CAS# Description:
7439-93-2 Lithium
Identification number(s):
EC number:
Index number:


Description of first aid measures
General information
Immediately remove any clothing soiled by the product.
After inhalation
Supply fresh air. If required, provide artificial respiration. Keep patient warm.
Seek immediate medical advice.
After skin contact
Immediately wash with water and soap and rinse thoroughly.
Seek immediate medical advice.
After eye contact
Rinse opened eye for several minutes under running water. Then consult a doctor.
After swallowing
Seek medical treatment.
Information for doctor
Most important symptoms and effects, both acute and delayed
Causes severe skin burns.
Causes serious eye damage.
Indication of any immediate medical attention and special treatment needed
No further relevant information available.


Extinguishing media
Suitable extinguishing agents
Special powder for metal fires. Do not use water.
For safety reasons unsuitable extinguishing agents
Special hazards arising from the substance or mixture
Reacts violently with water
If this product is involved in a fire, the following can be released:
Lithium oxide
Advice for firefighters
Protective equipment:
Wear self-contained respirator.
Wear fully protective impervious suit.


Personal precautions, protective equipment and emergency procedures
Wear protective equipment. Keep unprotected persons away.
Ensure adequate ventilation
Keep away from ignition sources
Environmental precautions:
Do not allow product to reach sewage system or any water course.
Do not allow to penetrate the ground/soil.
Methods and material for containment and cleaning up:
Use neutralizing agent.
Dispose of contaminated material as waste according to section 13.
Ensure adequate ventilation.
Do not flush with water or aqueous cleansing agents
Prevention of secondary hazards:
Keep away from ignition sources.
Reference to other sections
See Section 7 for information on safe handling
See Section 8 for information on personal protection equipment.
See Section 13 for disposal information.


Precautions for safe handling
Keep container tightly sealed.
Store in cool, dry place in tightly closed containers.
Ensure good ventilation at the workplace.
Information about protection against explosions and fires:
No information known.
Conditions for safe storage, including any incompatibilities
Requirements to be met by storerooms and receptacles:
No special requirements.
Information about storage in one common storage facility:
Store away from water/moisture.
Do not store together with acids.
Store away from oxidizing agents.
Further information about storage conditions:
Protect from humidity and water.
Keep container tightly sealed.
Store in cool, dry conditions in well sealed containers.
Specific end use(s)
No further relevant information available.


Additional information about design of technical systems:
Properly operating chemical fume hood designed for hazardous chemicals and having an average face velocity of at least 100 feet per minute.
Control parameters
Components with limit values that require monitoring at the workplace:
The product does not contain any relevant quantities of materials with critical values that have to be monitored at the workplace.
Additional information:
No data
Exposure controls
Personal protective equipment
General protective and hygienic measures
The usual precautionary measures for handling chemicals should be followed.
Keep away from foodstuffs, beverages and feed.
Remove all soiled and contaminated clothing immediately.
Wash hands before breaks and at the end of work.
Avoid contact with the eyes and skin.
Maintain an ergonomically appropriate working environment.
Breathing equipment:
Use suitable respirator when high concentrations are present.
Recommended filter device for short term use:
Use a respirator with type P100 (USA) or P3 (EN 143) cartridges as a backup to engineering controls. Risk assessment should be performed to determine if air-purifying respirators are appropriate. Only use equipment tested and approved under appropriate government standards.
Protection of hands:
Impervious gloves
Check protective gloves prior to each use for their proper condition.
The selection of suitable gloves not only depends on the material, but also on quality. Quality will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Material of gloves
Nitrile rubber, NBR
Penetration time of glove material (in minutes)
Glove thickness
0.11 mm
Eye protection:
Tightly sealed goggles
Full face protection
Body protection:
Protective work clothing.


Information on basic physical and chemical properties
General Information
Form: Solid in various forms
Color: Grey
Odor: Odorless
Odor threshold: Not determined.
pH-value: Not applicable.
Change in condition
Melting point/Melting range: 180.5 °C (357 °F)
Boiling point/Boiling range: 1342 °C (2448 °F)
Sublimation temperature / start: Not determined
Flammability (solid, gaseous)
Contact with water liberates extremely flammable gases.
Ignition temperature: Not determined
Decomposition temperature: Not determined
Auto igniting: Not determined.
Danger of explosion: Not determined.
Explosion limits:
Lower: Not determined
Upper: Not determined
Vapor pressure at 20 °C (68 °F): 0 hPa
Density at 20 °C (68 °F): 0.53 g/cm³ (4.423 lbs/gal)
Relative density
Not determined.
Vapor density
Not applicable.
Evaporation rate
Not applicable.
Solubility in / Miscibility with Water: Reacts violently
Contact with water releases flammable gases
Partition coefficient (n-octanol/water): Not determined.
dynamic: Not applicable.
kinematic: Not applicable.
Other information
No further relevant information available.


Reacts violently with water.
In contact with water releases flammable gases which may ignite spontaneously.
Chemical stability
Stable under recommended storage conditions.
Thermal decomposition / conditions to be avoided:
Decomposition will not occur if used and stored according to specifications.
Possibility of hazardous reactions
Reacts with strong oxidizing agents
Contact with water releases flammable gases
Reacts violently with water
Conditions to avoid
No further relevant information available.
Incompatible materials:
Oxidizing agents
Hazardous decomposition products:
Lithium oxide


Information on toxicological effects
Acute toxicity:
Swallowing will lead to a strong corrosive effect on mouth and throat and to the danger of perforation of esophagus and stomach.
The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) contains acute toxicity data for this substance.
LD/LC50 values that are relevant for classification:
No data
Skin irritation or corrosion:
Causes severe skin burns.
Eye irritation or corrosion:
Causes serious eye damage.
No sensitizing effects known.
Germ cell mutagenicity:
The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) contains mutation data for this substance.
No classification data on carcinogenic properties of this material is available from the EPA, IARC, NTP, OSHA or ACGIH.
Reproductive toxicity:
The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) contains reproductive data for this substance.
Specific target organ system toxicity - repeated exposure:
No effects known.
Specific target organ system toxicity - single exposure:
No effects known.
Aspiration hazard:
No effects known.
Subacute to chronic toxicity:
The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) contains multiple dose toxicity
data for this substance.
Additional toxicological information:
To the best of our knowledge the acute and chronic toxicity of this substance is not fully known.
Carcinogenic categories
OSHA-Ca (Occupational Safety & Health Administration)
Substance is not listed


Aquatic toxicity:
No further relevant information available.
Persistence and degradability
No further relevant information available.
Bioaccumulative potential
No further relevant information available.
Mobility in soil
No further relevant information available.
Additional ecological information:
General notes:
Avoid transfer into the environment.
Results of PBT and vPvB assessment
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
Other adverse effects
No further relevant information available.


Waste treatment methods
Consult state, local or national regulations to ensure proper disposal.
Uncleaned packagings:
Disposal must be made according to official regulations.


UN proper shipping name
Transport hazard class(es)
4.3 Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases.
4.3 (W2) Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
4.3 Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases.
Packing group
Environmental hazards:
Not applicable.
Special precautions for user
Warning: Substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases
EMS Number: F-G,S-N
Transport in bulk according to Annex II of MARPOL73/78 and the IBC Code
Not applicable.
Transport/Additional information:
Marine Pollutant (DOT):
UN "Model Regulation":
UN1415, Lithium, 4.3, l


Safety, health and environmental regulations/legislation specific for the substance or mixture
National regulations
All components of this product are listed in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Toxic Substances Control Act Chemical substance Inventory.
All components of this product are listed on the Canadian Domestic Substances List (DSL).
SARA Section 313 (specific toxic chemical listings)
Substance is not listed.
California Proposition 65
Prop 65 - Chemicals known to cause cancer
Substance is not listed.
Prop 65 - Developmental toxicity
Substance is not listed.
Prop 65 - Developmental toxicity, female
Substance is not listed.
Prop 65 - Developmental toxicity, male
Substance is not listed.
Information about limitation of use:
For use only by technically qualified individuals.
Other regulations, limitations and prohibitive regulations
Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) according to the REACH Regulations (EC) No. 1907/2006.
Substance is not listed.
The conditions of restrictions according to Article 67 and Annex XVII of the Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH) for the manufacturing, placing on the market and use must be observed.
Substance is not listed.
Annex XIV of the REACH Regulations (requiring Authorisation for use)
Substance is not listed.
REACH - Pre-registered substances
Substance is listed.
Chemical safety assessment:
A Chemical Safety Assessment has not been carried out.


Safety Data Sheet according to Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH). The above information is believed to be correct but does not purport to be all inclusive and shall be used only as a guide. The information in this document is based on the present state of our knowledge and is applicable to the product with regard to appropriate safety precautions. It does not represent any guarantee of the properties of the product. American Elements shall not be held liable for any damage resulting from handling or from contact with the above product. See reverse side of invoice or packing slip for additional terms and conditions of sale. COPYRIGHT 1997-2016 AMERICAN ELEMENTS. LICENSED GRANTED TO MAKE UNLIMITED PAPER COPIES FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY.

Lithium Isotopes

Lithium (L) has two stable isotopes, lithium-6 and lithium-7. Of the two, Lithium-7 is more common making up about 92.5% of lithium atoms.

Nuclide Isotopic Mass Half-Life Mode of Decay Nuclear Spin Magnetic Moment Binding Energy (MeV) Natural Abundance
(% by atom)
3Li 3.030775 N/A Unknown N/A N/A N/A -
4Li 4.02719(23) 91(9)×10-24 s [6.3 ] p to 3He 2- N/A 3.7 -
5Li 5.01254(5) 370(30)×10-24 s [~1.5 ] p to 4He 3/2- N/A 25.38 -
6Li 6.015122795(16) STABLE - 1+ 0.8220467 31.04 7.59
7Li 7.01600455(8) STABLE - 3/2- 3.256424 38.28 92.41
8Li 8.022487359(10) 840.3(9) ms ß- to 8Be; ß- + 2a to 2+ 1.6536 40.39 -
9Li 9.026789499(21) 178.3(4) ms ß- to 9Be; ß- + n to 8Be; ß-+ n + 2a to 3/2- 3.439 44.47 -
10Li 10.035481(16) 2x10-21 y n to 9Li (1-,2-) N/A 44.81 -
11Li 11.043798(21) 8.75(14) ms ß- to 11Be; ß- + n to 10Be; ß- + n + a to 6He 3/2- 3.668 45.44 -
12Li 12.053779(107)# <10 ns n to 11Li N/A N/A 44.2 -