Like most minerals and metals, lithium has a wide range of uses, from as a treatment for bipolar disorder to aluminum-lithium alloys that make things like planes and trains lighter and stronger.

However, the most important use of lithium is in rechargeable batteries for things like electric vehicles, mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras.

Here is everything you ever wanted to know about … LITHIUM!

FAST FACTS!

  • Along with hydrogen and helium, lithium was one of the three elements produced in large quantities by the Big Bang when the universe was created 13.8 billion years ago.
  • Although lithium is a metal, it is soft enough to cut with a knife.
  • Lithium is so light it can float on water. Because it is the lightest metal, it can be alloyed with other metals such as aluminum and copper to make strong lightweight metals.
  • Lithium based batteries have revolutionized consumer devices such as computers and cell phones. For a given battery weight, lithium batteries deliver more energy than batteries based on other metals; in other words, lithium batteries have high energy density.
  • Lithium gets its name from “lithos,” the Greek word for stone, because it is present in trace amounts in virtually all rocks. 
  • In its pure form, lithium is highly flammable and slightly explosive when exposed to air and especially water.  As a result, it is not found in its pure form in nature. It is always found bound with one or more other elements or compounds.
  • Lithium fires are difficult to put out. You can't use water as water will react with the lithium and could make the fire worse. A powder fire extinguisher is needed.
  • Lithium has a wide range of medical applications, including as a treatment for bipolar disorder. Oddly, no one knows exactly how lithium works to stabilize moods - we just know that it does.
  • Lithium was first detected as an element by Swedish chemist Johann August Arfvedson in 1817 when he was analyzing petalite ore. It was isolated in its pure form a year later by English chemist Humphry Davy. 

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