Fun Facts About Lithium
Many elements provide a diverse array of uses. Since its discovery in 1817 by Johann August Arfvedson, lithium has been used in a wide variety of applications. The mineral itself was first found in petalite and later isolated through electrolysis for use. Lithium is not a free-formed element and only makes up approximately .0007% of the earth’s crust.
Lithium is used in a wide number of applications.
1. The lightest weight metal available is lithium. It is often alloyed with cadmium, aluminum, copper, or manganese to create lightweight, durable metals. Those metals are often used in the aerospace industry to provide a lightweight solution that can withstand the rigors of atmospheric, outer space, or re-entry flight.
2. Lithium batteries are restricted in many places due to their nature of operation. Thermal Runaway of a lithium battery that discharges can result in an explosion or fire. Consumer products that use lithium are often restricted in sales as it can be used in the processing of methamphetamine.
3. Various types of lithium treatments are available to people with Bipolar Disorder and more. Lithium pills have been used since the 1960’s to help provide stability in the manic side of the Disorder. The success rate for various lithium pills in controlling that side of the disorder ranges upwards of 75%. The number of successes lithium has brought for the mentally ill has made it a staple in many treatment regimens.
4. Flux and solder that are made with lithium perform at higher efficiencies than other substances. The lithium absorbs different impurities which prevents the metals from oxidizing while they are being joined. That allows for a stronger joint than other flux or solder provides.
5. Different lithium compounds are used to help brighten the color of red fireworks and flares. The way that the element burns when ignited provides a much richer, brighter color than traditional materials.
6. Lithium provides an excellent base material. A very common use sees lithium mixed with greases to create high-temperature lubricants. These lubricants can withstand the rigors and abuse of that more difficult environment without suffering the same kind of breakdowns that a non-lithium lubricant would.
7. Many uses for lithium have been found in the technological sides of industry. Nearly 60% of mobile phones have lithium used in their interior. A common use for lithium in the telecommunications industry is to make components such as resonant crystals.
8. The first fully man-made nuclear reaction was accomplished in 1932 by Cockroft and Walton. Lithium that is bombarded by accelerated protons will create beryllium. In turn, fission causes the creation of two Alpha Particles. Various nuclear reactions had been created before that point but it was always using natural circumstances and subject to the difficulties they presented.
9. Mankind has utilized lithium in various weapon applications. Most notably, Lithium Deuteride was used was used as the fusion fuel in early incarnations of the hydrogen bomb. Today, it still plays a role in the processes involved in a nuclear weapon though the specifics of that information remains secret.
10. Lithium is believed to be one of the three primordial elements that were synthesized according to the Big Bang theory. It is produced by a number of different cosmological occurrences ranging from the processes of a star to the radioactive decay of ancient, astral beryllium.