Lithium for Battery, Medicine and Hydrogen Bombs (Post No.5495)

Written by London Swaminathan
Date: 1 October 2018


Time uploaded in London – 14-52 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5495


Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.

Lithium, one of the 118 elements in the Periodic Table, is a wonderful alkali metal.

We use it in
Hydrogen bombs
Psychiatric medicine
Camera, calculator, watch batteries and
Making air planes

Whether you are a mental patient or an ardent traveller or CD , Cassette Player user or an aeronautical engineer you need LITHIUM.

LITHIUM was discovered by Johan August Arfvedson at Stockholm in Sweden in 1817.

Soon after its discovery, it was found in spa waters in Karlsbad, Marienbad and Vichy.


For Mental Patients

In the beginning doctors used lithium to cure gouts.

In 1949, Australian doctor John Cade was experimenting with Guinea pigs. When he injected them with the urine of mental patients, they died. Cade thought that it was due to the excess uric acid in the urine. He continued his experiment with injecting the animals with lithium salt. First they were lethargic and then recovered within a few hours.

Cade then gave lithium carbonate to his most mentally disturbed patient, who had been admitted to a secure unit five years earlier. The man responded so well that within days he was transferred to a normal hospital ward and within two months he was able to return home and take up his old job.

Within the right dose of lithium a patient can be kept from either of the extremes, mania and depression. The dose is adjusted between 3 and 8 milligrams. A blood level of 10 milligrams of lithium per litre results in mild lithium poisoning, and when it reaches 15 milligrams per litre can have side effects, such as confusion and slurred speech and 20 milligrams per litre of blood means risk of death.
Lithium is produced in USA, Russia, China, Brazil, Chile, Australia and Zimbabwe.

Lithium oxide is used in glass industry.
Lithium carbonate is used in pharmaceutical services
Lithium, being the lightest of all metals, commercial aircraft industry use the metal.


Lithium batteries, which operate, at 3 volts or more, are used in wrist watches, calculators and camera flashes. They supply energy to heart pacemakers and they have a life span of ten years. The longevity and the lightness of the metal are very useful.
Lithium chloride is used to dry industrial gases and in air conditioning.
Lithium hydride is used to store hydrogen. A kilogram of it releases 2800 litre s of hydrogen when treated with water.

Chemical property
Symbol Li
Atomic number 3
Atomic weight 6.941
Melting point 181 degree C
Boiling point 1347 degrees C
Isotopes lithium 6 and lithium 7

Hydrogen Bomb 

The hydrogen of the hydrogen bombs is the compound of lithium hydride, in which the lithium is in the form of enriched lithium -6 isotope and the hydrogen is the hydrogen -2 isotope, also known as deuterium. This lithium deteuride is capable of releasing massive energy by nuclear fusion. This is achieved by placing it round the core of an atom bomb, which provides the heat necessary to initiate a nuclear fusion reaction as well as providing the nuclear flux. When the bomb detonates , it releases neutrons from the fission of its uranium -235 and these are absorbed by the nuclei of lithium 6 which immediately disintegrates to form helium and hydrogen 3. The hydrogen 3 then fuses with the deuterium to form more helium and this releases more yet more neutrons.  These are absorbed by the casing of the bomb, which is made up of uranium 238 and they convert it to plutonium 239 which then adds a third explosion, again one of nuclear fission.

The consequence of all this is to release a billion billion joules of energy in a fraction of a second with the explosive force of millions of tonnes of TNT.



source book- Nature’s Building Blocks by John Emsley



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