The lightest metal

When we say «metal» in our imagination appear to be a material which has high hardness and great weight. But in the world there are such metals whose density is small, and for this reason they do not sink in water. Let’s find out what the lightest metal. This is precisely Li (two times lighter than water).

Characteristics lithium

The lightest metal-lithium

The lightest metal in the world has a density equal 0,542 g/cm3. He is representative of the metals of the alkaline group having a high chemical activity. In fact, in nature, this material is a complex compound, consisting of many elements. Under normal conditions this very light metal with a silvery-white color, is very malleable and suitable for forging. Melting point of lithium is at 181 degrees.

This metal the inherent characteristics that distinguish the materials of the alkaline group. However, it has its own peculiarity – under the influence of the room temperature reaction with oxygen or other substances is gaining bad. However, it is heat, as it is quite easily react with acids and gases. If you heat with a heavy metal to three hundred degrees, it will spontaneously ignite, and the flame will have a red-blue color.

Lithium in the periodic table

Light material, placed in kerosene, located on the surface of the liquid because of its low density. So keep it in a liquid should not be, and for these purposes it is better to use mineral oil, paraffin, and petroleum ether. Storage of lithium are the banks made of tin, which are made with airtight lids. When working with lithium is important to use personal protective equipment and observe instructions on safety, since this metal is toxic. A pair of lithium can burn the respiratory system, so you need to take care of remedies the respiratory system.

Where to apply lithium?

This metal widely used in alloys. For example, when the process of alloying of aluminium, attached to Li, which allows to reduce the density and improve the degree of elasticity of the alloy. In the manufacture of alkaline batteries used lithium hydroxide. Probably many of you know about the term «lithium ion battery».

Lithium is widely used in various industries

Ceramics based on silicate and lithium aluminate used in metallurgy industry and for the manufacture of military equipment. Lithium salts in the medical field safely treat diseases associated with mental disorders, as lithium carbonate has the ability to stabilize the human mood.

Textile, pharmaceutical and food industry used for the manufacture of certain products lithium compounds. In combination with oxidizing metal is used to produce fuel for rockets. Lithium nitrate just needed to create fireworks. The optical sector is lithium fluoride. This metal is even used to produce glass, which has a certain grade.

How is lithium?

Production of lithium is carried out in three ways

In the manufacture of this material is such a process, wherein the decomposed natural compounds of lithium. Because of the considerable number of included components, this procedure is quite time consuming. As a result, 1,000 kilograms obtained by the extraction of raw materials accounted for only twenty-one gram of lithium.

To decompose compounds of lithium, used in three ways – sulphate, lime, sulfuric acid. The first and the second is carried out by sintering the ore with calcium oxide or sulphate of potash. This all happens at a temperature of from 250 to 300 degrees. After processing, the resulting mass water chlorination process. In conclusion, electrolysis is carried out the weight when using potassium chloride or barium. Deposited on the cathodes of the lithium is extracted out for further processing.

The third method consists of dissolving the obtained raw material in sulfuric acid. Then everything is the same as described above. After obtaining pure lithium, he is sent to various industries for manufacturing required products.

Advanced technology: lighter lithium?


Science does not stand in one place, giving industry more unique technology. So scientists got a metal that is much lighter in weight than lithium. This metal was called «microlites». Thanks to its incredible ease you can put on the dandelion and the plant is not deformed.

Despite its lightness, microlactin can withstand a huge load, and to recover its original shape when hitting. Also, the material is lighter than polystyrene in a hundred times. The strength of the earth. Owing to these characteristics, the metal is used in different areas – automotive industry, aerospace industry, manufacturing of electrodes for batteries, etc.

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