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Lithium (Li): Fun Facts and Information About the Element

What is the symbol? Li
What is the atomic number? 3
What is the atomic weight? 6.941
What is the melting point in Celsius? 180
What is the boiling point in Celsius? 1347
What is the density (g/cm3)? 0.53
What year was it discovered? 1817
Who discovered the element? Johann August Arfvedson
What group is the element in? 1
What is the electron configuration? [He] 2s1
What is the ionization energy? 5.3917 W
What element category is it in? Alkali metals

Where is Lithium Found?

It does not occur freely in nature; combined, it is found in small units in nearly all igneous rocks and in 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 those in Nevada. Large deposits of quadramene are found in North Carolina.

How is lithium used?

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. The glass for the 200-inch telescope at Mt. Palomar contains lithium as a minor ingredient. It is used in air conditioning and industrial drying systems. Lithium carbide is used for the treatment of bipolar disease and other mental illness conditions.