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20 Lithium Facts for Your School Project

Lithium – A highly reactive alkali metal that is soft enough to be cut using knife – was actually one of the three elements that were produced during Big Bang! Did you know this fact? There are many such interesting Lithium facts that will blow your mind. In this list of 20 facts about Lithium, we are going to find out some interesting information about this amazing metal. You ready?

Before we start…

Atomic Number3
Atomic weight6.941 ± 0.002 u
Group Number1
Name of the GroupAlkali metal
Period Number2
Melting point180.5 °C or 356.90 °F or 453.65 K
Boiling Point1330 °C or 2426 °F or 1603 K
Discovered byJohan August Arfwedson in 1817
Isolated for the first time byWilliam Thomas Brande in 1821

Lithium Facts: 1-5

1. Lithium stands 3rd in the periodic table with an atomic weight of 6.941 ± 0.002 u. In pure form, Lithium is highly reactive but it is list reactive when compared to other alkali metals.

2. Lithium’s nucleus is very unstable and because of this, it is almost impossible to find pure Lithium naturally. Natural Lithium can be found as a combination of two stable isotopes which are Lithium-6 and Lithium-7. Of the two, Lithium-7 is abundantly present (92% natural abundance) than Lithium-6. There are three radioactive isotopes of Lithium.

3. The word “Lithium” originated from the Greek word “lithos” which means stone. It is the lightest known metal known to man. Water is two times denser than Lithium.

4. Lithium is the first member of its group – alkali metals. Other alkali metals are Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, Caesium and Rancium.

5. Its color is silver-white. Though it is a metal, it is so soft that you can literally cut the element using a knife. This metal is one of the few metals which have a very low melting point and very high boiling point.

Lithium Facts: 6-10

6. Did you know that it is tough to find Lithium in free state? It is present in rocks, mineral springs etc. but not in free state. This is due to the fact that it is extremely unstable and highly reactive. We already mentioned this earlier. Sorry for repeating!

7. Owing to its high reactivity with almost anything, even water and air, it is stored in oil or in an inert atmosphere.

8. Lithium is the only metal which reacts with Nitrogen naturally. Though it reacts with water, its reaction is least violent.

9. Just like Sodium, Lithium actively reacts with water and forms Lithium Hydroxide and Hydrogen which burns into a crimson red flare.

10. It usually doesn’t react with Oxygen but given a temperature above 100 degrees Celsius, it forms Lithium Oxide.

Lithium Facts: 11-15

11. It is one of the three elements which were formed during the Big Bang. The other two elements being Hydrogen and Helium.

12. But there is a problem here. The Lithium that was produced in Big Bang must be three times that of the present amount. Scientists are still unable to answer the question, “where did the rest of the Lithium go?”

13. This was discovered in 1980’s and from then till now it remained as a mystery. This discovery was made based on the data of Big Bang and through observation of stars.

14. According to Pasquale Serpico, a cosmologist working at National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and at the University of Savoy Mont Blanc situated in France, there are two possible reasons. The first reason being – we are missing on one of the core conditions which the actual Big Bang had. Finding this is a tough task.

15. And, researchers at Laboratory for Underground Nuclear Astrophysics (LUNA) recreated the Big Bang explosion and found that Hydrogen and Helium produced were in line with the actual Big Bang (taken proportionately) but Lithium was produced three times more than expected.

Lithium Facts: 16-20

16. Another possible reason is that there is something mysterious happening in the universe that is eating up most of the Lithium produced.

17. Researchers created the same conditions of the first days of universe where the energetic photons are released and they lay the foundation for the elementary particles which form atoms. In a study conducted in 2015 in Physical Review Letters (a journal) these researchers saw that there is some loophole.

18. They observed that at a certain level of energy, adding new energetic photons would destroy Beryllium-7 which is a precursor of Lithium-7. The other elements and photons remain the same without any change.

19. So, this may answer the absence of the amount of Lithium to be present in the Universe. As of now, this remains as a mere speculation and studies should be done to prove this. But, this certainly makes a plausible reason while keeping the Big Bang theory intact.

20. The history of its discovery dates back to 2nd century CE. Soranus, a physician of Ephesus, observed that the waters of his town which were alkaline was used to treat patients with mania and depression. Yes, mania and depression. Later it was seen that those waters had a very high content of Lithium.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6