Did you know that drinking water in which lithium is naturally present actually decreases suicidal tendencies? That’s surprising! But hey, hold your horses! Prolonged usage of such water is not good either. So, better take a different route! Now, though we started off on a grim note, we will make up for it with some surprising lithium facts that you will love to read. So, let’s not waste time and get started…
Surprising Lithium Facts: 1-5
1. No attempts were made to separate this element from others and study it after it was first identified in 2nd century CE. Long after, Jozé Bonifácio de Andralda e Silva, a Brazilian, in 1790’s, discovered Lithium in a mineral petalite LiAlSi4O10 on a Sweden’s island. He saw that when this ore burned, it gave a crimson red flame.
2. Johan August Arfvedson of Stockholm observed and called this meta – unknown to man – as Lithium in 1817. He understood that it is a lighter version of Sodium but failed to separate it by using electrolysis. He could only isolate one of the salts of Lithium.
3. In 1821, Willliam Brande got some Lithium by the process of electrolysis but it was so less in quantity that he couldn’t experiment.
4. It was in 1855 that Augustus Matthiessen of Britain and Robert Bunsen of Germany came together and isolated Lithium for the first time by electrolysing Lithium Chloride.
5. Lithium was converted into helium by a process called as Transmutation in 1932. This was first nuclear reaction made by man.
Surprising Lithium Facts: 6-10
6. It is used in different alloys which are light but strong and used in aerospace field, and when you add it (Lithium Carbonate) to molten glass, it makes the glass lighter and stronger! Pyrex cookware and our television tubes use Lithium Carbonate.
7. Did you know that lithium is present in every organism’s body? Yes, it is present but till now scientists didn’t know the purpose it serves in body.
8. Our cell phones live on this element. Yes, the batteries of our beloved phones are made of Lithium ions.
9. It helps in killing algae and absorbs carbon dioxide in space vehicles. Just add little Lithium in concrete and you see it hardening faster than the normal concrete would take.
10. Lithium Stearate, if mixed with oil, it becomes a powerful lubricant where the oil can be used for any purpose and at high temperatures as well. It doesn’t get hard when cooled and it doesn’t react with Oxygen in air or water.
Surprising Lithium Facts: 11-15
11. This grease is used in number of areas like automobiles, military, aircraft, marine, industrial areas etc.
12. Lithium Hydride is used to inflate boats and Lithium deuteride is used in explosives as an explosive agent (in Hydrogen bombs).
13. Lithium Carbonate is also used in reducing the temperature when manufacturing Aluminium. This reduces the cost of manufacturing Aluminium.
14. Lithium Stearate is used in cosmetics as well, as an additive.
15. In 1949, John Cade discovered yet another use of Lithium (Lithium Carbonate in particular). It is seen that it can be used to reduce the effects of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a disorder where the person experiences extreme mood swing, sometimes manic and sometimes depression engulfs them.
Surprising Lithium Facts: 16-20
16. According to researchers and studies done in 2008, lithium intervenes the receptor’s activity for dopamine. Remember dopamine, the love hormone?
17. According to a 2011 study, it increases the brain’s volume as well. But till now we don’t have a clue how lithium does all this to us!
18. However, too much is too bad. If taken more than the said dose, you would likely experience dizziness, diarrhoea, weight gain, dry mouth etc.
19. According to National Institute of Mental Health, lithium drugs were the first drugs to get a green signal by the Food and Drug Administration for treating bipolar.
20. Lithium also is seen to reduce suicides! People who drink water which has naturally occurring lithium in it show lower suicide rates than others. Having said this, it is not good to use for a longer period of time and especially pregnant women because lithium can show unidentified effects on the fetes.