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Lithium By: Sarah S. The History of Lithium Johan August Arfvedson, a Swedish chemist, Discovered by lithium in ore from a Swedish iron mine in 1817. Arfvedson originally discovered lithium in a petalite ore (An important ore of lithium) , and found it in the minerals spodumene and lepidolite. The element was separated from the petalite ore by W.T. Brande and Sir Humphrey Davy. It was apparently given the name "lithium" because it was discovered from a mineral while other common alkali metals were first discovered from plant tissue. + Spodumene = Lepidolite Lithium Basic Facts of Lithium Lithium is the 3rd element on the periodic table. It is classified as an Alkali Metal and located in Group 1 elements of the periodic table. An element as an Alkali Metal is a very reactive metal that does not occur freely in nature. Alkali metals are soft and good conductors of heat and electricity. The symbol of Lithium is Li. It’s atomic number is 3. The atomic number of an element is the atomic number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom. The atomic mass of lithium is 6.941. The atomic mass means the number of neutrons and protons inside an atom is equal to the mass of one atom inside the element. Lithium is soft and silvery white and it is the least dense of the metals. It is highly reactive and does not occur freely in nature. Uses When lithium is combined with other metals such as aluminum, it makes very strong and light alloys. Those qualities make it popular with the aerospace industry. Lithium is very useful because you can find it acting as the positive half of many batteries and as part of highperformance, industrial lubricants. As lithium chloride (lithium plus chlorine), it is very good at absorbing large amounts of water. Taken as lithium carbonate (lithium, oxygen, and carbonate), lithium helps restore damaged personalities – calming and relieving sufferers of mental illnesses such as manic depression. Fun Facts Lithium was one of the first three elements out of hydrogen and helium to be created within the first 3 minutes when the universe was created. Lithium is the lightest of all metals on the periodic table. Lithium is one of the only metals that cannot be found in its pure form. Lithium can be easily sliced with a knife. The name for lithium comes from the Greek word lithos which means stone. Glossary Ore-A naturally occurring solid material from which a metal or valuable mineral can be profitably extracted. Nucleus-The positively charged central core of an atom, containing most of its mass. Lubricants-A substance, such as oil or grease, used for minimizing friction. Manic-Showing wild and apparently extreme excitement and energy.