It was first discovered in 1817 by J.A. Arfvedson at Stockholm, Sweden and was isolated in 1821 by W.T. Brande.
It is soft, silvery-white in appearance and reacts in water and oxygen readily. It is generally mined through hard rock mining of spodumene ore or evaporation of lithium rich brine.
Found to treat bipolar disorder in 1949, lithium carbonate has widely been distributed as medicine to treat mental illness. An isotopologue of lithium hydride is used in hydrogen bombs to release the enormous heat required to initiate the nuclear fusion reaction.
Stable lithium hydride is used as a method to store hydrogen gas, as when treated with water, hydrogen gas is released in great volume. Lithium chloride is highly water absorbent and can used to dry industrial gases or air condition submarines.
Its main use is in lithium ion batteries in the form of lithium hydroxide. Having higher charge density, charging speed and lifetime than traditional batteries, makes it suitable for today's high technological demand.
Relative Atomic Mass
Will the present era one day be known as the 'Lithium Century'?
Looking back at the sweep of metals history of the last 35 years, this lightest of elements (at least one of them) has in the public mind moved from its association with mood stabilising medicine and light aluminium aircraft alloys to the panacea of the post-carbon economy.
But nothing is neat or simple. In fact, despite the importance of lithium to our post-carbon green new world, there are issues to do with lithium's extraction that give cause for concern. One of them is the upwards of 100,000 litres of water (of which a quarter is fresh) required to extract just 1metric ton of lithium carbonate. This from raw material of brines a few metres below the surface of the High Atacama; a region that sometimes sees no more than 2mm rainfall per year.
For this reason, new and better ways of mining lithium need to be found and, as we say in some of the articles below, the best hope might be in the geothermal brines to be found in Cornwall which Cornish Lithium seeks to recover by a direct lithium extraction method (DLE).
The trade of Lithium Hydroxide for battery making is not mature but it is almost inevitable that the free market in the movement of this key raw material will develop and our company has spent time studying supply/demand patterns and the qualities we believe customers require.