Lithium #atozchallenge


Lithium in paraffin (Public Domain, source: Wikipedia)

Lithium is nature’s lightest metal, with an atomic number of 3. It’s a good conductor of heat and electricity and is about as dense as pine wood. You can cut it with a knife, it’s that soft. Because it reacts so readily with water, it’s usually stored in oil, petroleum jelly, or paraffin.

In medicine, it’s helpful in the treatment of bipolar disorder. It’s an alkaline metal, so you probably see it most frequently in rechargeable batteries, especially laptop batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive than nickel-metal-hydride ones, but are lighter and less bulky, and recharge quicker and are less prone to the “memory effect” than their nickel counterparts, at the cost of expected life (i.e. they last shorter than NiMH batteries). Some jurisdictions put restrictions on the number of lithium batteries you can purchase, because lithium can be used in one of the methods used to create methamphetamine.

Can you think of other uses for lithium?

13 thoughts on “Lithium #atozchallenge

  1. I cracked up when I saw this – I’m catching up on posts, and earlier my husband and I were talking about lithium. He didn’t quite believe me when I said I thought it was used as a bipolar treatment. And boo-yah, here’s your post, almost like it was planned! đŸ˜€


  2. I didn’t even know this was a metal which is sad since I did hear about lithium batteries but I never put the two together. I only heard about it in regards to the medicine


  3. Lithium can also be used as a lubricant (lithium grease). It’s commonly used in automotive applications, like CV joints and door hinges.

    It’s always seemed a little weird to me, that the same stuff that goes into batteries and grease is also taken as a medicine.


  4. Single-cell lithium-ion batteries are fully-charged at 4.2 V but can discharge down to 2.7 V or less. They have a much slower rate of self-discharge than NiMH or NiCad batteries.

    Life and capacity of any battery will be much reduced at 0-10 degrees C, but Li Ion batteries are better than other chemistries – hence their early use in the U.S. space program.

    The last chip I designed was a battery gas gauge, to tell you how much juice you had left. It had to work down to 2 V and as high as 8.4 V (for two series-connected Li Ion cells). Part number was LTC4150, for Linear Technology Corp.


    1. The song is about depression and having suicidal thoughts, one of the reasons lithium carbonate is prescribed. Interesting name for a radio station… wonder if they understood the connection…


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