• Delaney Lloyd

Element of the Month: Lithium

This first alkali metal in the periodic table has been around for billions of years in the universe. According to Science Learn, Lithium was found to be one of the three simple elements along with hydrogen and helium that was created by the Big Bang.

Lithium is considered to be a soft metal. It is in fact so soft that it can be cut with a knife. The element also has a “silvery” appearance due to the oxide formation. The density of Lithium is significantly low, at 0.534 grams per cubic centimeter, it is the 12th least dense element. It does not exist as a metal freely in the environment. You can find this element in almost all igneous rocks and even in mineral springs around the world! Lithium on its own in pure form can be dangerous and has to be isolated with special handling. Another feature of the element of the month is that it plays a huge role in numerous reactions. For instance, Lithium reacts with oxygen to create monoxide and peroxide. Lithium hydride and lithium hydroxide are a few other formed solutions by the alkali metal.

Historical Facts

Lithium was first discovered in petalite, which is also known as castorite. The discoverer of lithium was a Swedish chemist by the name of Johan August Arfwedson in 1817. The Swedish chemist determined that Lithium is a lighter version of sodium but he was not able to separate it with electrolysis. The first chemists to successfully isolate the element was W.T. Brande and Sir Humphry Davy by electrolysis of lithium oxide.

Uses of Element

Lithium is a very significant element that is used in many ways! Rechargeable batteries are created by lithium-ion. The element allows us to charge our phones, laptops, and other electronics. Most people use a rechargeable battery every day! Lithium also plays an impactful role in mental health. Lithium carbonate is used as a mood stabilizer for people who have bipolar disorder. The antimanic drug has been “the standard pharmacological treatment for BD for over 60 years.” Due to lithium being the lightest known metal to man, it can be compounded with aluminum easily to make parts for air and spacecraft.


1. How Elements Are Formed https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/1727-how-elements-are-formed

2. Lithium - Element Information, Properties and Uses: Periodic Table https://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/3/lithium

3. 10 Interesting Facts About the Element Lithium Ph.D. Anne Marie Helmenstine - https://www.thoughtco.com/lithium-element-facts-608237

4. It's Elemental https://education.jlab.org/itselemental/

5. The Role Of Lithium in the Treatment Of Bipolar Disorder: Convergent Evidence For Neurotrophic Effects As a Unifying Hypothesis Rodrigo Machado-Vieira-Husseini Manji-Carlos Zarate - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2800957/

6. Water Treatment Solutions https://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/li.htm

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