Lithium

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Lithium

The atom.

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Lithium

Lithium is a soft silvery-white metal and is named after the Greek word for stone, lithos . Lithium is a lesser/ trace element and it belongs to the alkali metal group. It is the lightest metal on the periodic table and is found in all around the world. Significant amounts of this metal are found in Chile, Argentina, Australia and China . Though, about 75% of lithium is found in Chile and Bolivia.

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Lithium

Lithium has an atomic number of 3 It has an atomic mass of 6.9 The symbol for lithium is, Li Lithium consist of 3 protons, 3 electrons and 3 neutrons, this is one isotope known as Li⁶ The other isotope is Li⁷, which consist of 3 protons, 3 electrons and 4 neutrons. Li⁷ thus has a greater mass than Li⁶ as there are more neutrons in the nucleus of the atom.

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Chemical properties

The lithium atom has one valence electron It is thus highly reactive. Lithium can only form ionic bonds, this is obtained by the ability to lose an electron to form a bond. Lithium can only be a cation meaning, it can only form a positive lithium ions – Li⁺ It is soluble in water. Better in cold than hot water. Lithium is also a highly flammable element.

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Physical properties

Lithium is a soft metal i.e. it can be cut by a knife. Has the following properties Melting point of 181˚C Boiling point of 1342˚C Density of 0.53 g.cm  -3  at 20 °C Thus would float in water if it did not react with it.

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Lithium functions

Lithium is used in treatment medication of mental illnesses such as bipolar, depression and schizophrenia It is unknown of how exactly it works but it might help by increasing the activity of chemical messengers to the brain. It is also used in batteries and other technology such as electrical cars. It seems as it does not have any other functions in the human body but large amount are harmful and toxic in the body.

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Lithium in industry

The are several industries where lithium is applicable. These include: lithium batteries, lithium-ion batteries, heat resistant glass and ceramics and grease lubricants. It is also used in some high-performance alloys of aircrafts. Aluminium production industry. Almost every battery contains lithium because it is highly reactive thus we are able to make use of phones, laptop and other technology gadgets.

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Fun facts

We wouldn’t be able to use any of the technological gadgets, without lithium. Lithium is also found brine deposits and as salts in mineral springs, sea water and constitutes 0.002% of Earth’s crust. Because of its high reactive nature is not freely found but found in compounds. Impact of low lithium intake on water supplies connect to high levels of crime, drug abuse and homicides and suicides.