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Properties of lithium

  1. Oct 4, 2005 #1
    trying to understand the physical properties of lithium,
    since it is a metalic liquid,
    Can it be magnetized?
    Could it be forced through a tube that has a current spiraling around it, like in an electromagnet?
    Does it break down over time, and what happens to it if it does?
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2005 #2


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    Ummm...liquid ? No, lithium is very much solid. The melting point of Li is 181C or 357F.

    Li has a paramagnetic susceptibility of 0.000014 at room temperature, so it can't be magnetized. Li does not break down over time (no metal that isn't naturally radioactive does), but it tarnishes (oxidizes) in air in a matter of seconds.
  4. Oct 5, 2005 #3

    Doc Al

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    It reacts quite dramatically with water. Back in the day, I did atomic beam experiments with various alkali metals, including lithium. One way to clean the oven was to squirt water on it--good times! (Better wear goggles.)
  5. Oct 5, 2005 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    As Gokul mentioned, Li has a low melting point (453.69 K [or 180.54 °C (356.97 °F)]), but it is obviously solid (but soft) at room temperature.

    Li has been used as a liquid metal coolant in some demonstration power systems, and has been proposed for compact fast nuclear reactors because it has a high boiling point (1615 K [or 1342 °C (2448 °F)]) or a liquid range of 1161.31 K.

    One can search here for properties of Li - http://www.webelements.com/webelements/elements/text/Li/key.html

    Liquid metals are good conductors, so they can be pumped with electromagnetic pumps.

    As Gokul and DocAl both mentioned, Li, like the other alkali metals is extremely chemically reactive, and in fact is the most reactive alkali metal.

    There are two isotopes, Li6 with about 7.6% abundance of Li and Li7 with about 92.4% abundance. For more on the nuclear properties see

    - Li6 http://wwwndc.tokai.jaeri.go.jp/cgi-bin/nuclinfo2004?3,6

    - Li7 http://wwwndc.tokai.jaeri.go.jp/cgi-bin/nuclinfo2004?3,7
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