Lithium carbonate

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Lithium carbonate
Names
IUPAC name
Lithium carbonate
Systematic IUPAC name
Lithium carbonate
Other names
Carbolith
Cibalith-S
Dilithium carbonate
Duralith
Eskalith
Lithane
Lithizine
Lithobid
Lithonate
Lithotabs Priadel
Zabuyelite
Properties
Li2CO3
Molar mass 73.89
Appearance White solid
Density 2.11 g/cm3
Melting point 723 °C (1,333 °F; 996 K)
Boiling point 1,310 °C (2,390 °F; 1,580 K) Decomposition begins at 1300 °C
1.54 g/100 ml (0 °C)
1.43 g/100 ml (10 °C)
1.29 g/100 ml (25 °C)
1.08 g/100 ml (40 °C)
0.69 g/100 ml (100 °C)
Solubility Insoluble in acetone, alcohol, ammonia
Vapor pressure ~0 mmHg
Hazards
Safety data sheet ScienceLab
Flash point None
Related compounds
Related compounds
Sodium carbonate
Potassium carbonate
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Lithium carbonate is an inorganic compound, with the formula Li2CO3.

Properties

Chemical

Lithium carbonate reacts with carbon dioxide when underwater to form lithium bicarbonate, which is 10 times more soluble:

Li2CO3 + CO2 + H2O ⇌ 2 LiHCO3

Like all carbonates it will react with a stronger acid to release carbon dioxide.

Li2CO3 + 2 HCl → 2 LiCl + H2O + CO2

Physical

Lithium carbonate is a white solid, non-hygroscopic, poorly soluble in water, as well as most organic solvents. It is more soluble in cold water than hot water. Unlike other alkaline metal carbonates, it does not form hydrates and only exists as anhydrous form.

Availability

Lithium carbonate is sold by chemical suppliers. It can also be purchased from eBay.

Certain drugs that are used for the treatment of bipolar disorders, such as Eskalith, contain lithium carbonate.

It occurs naturally as the rare mineral zabuyelite.

Preparation

Lithium carbonate can be made or extracted from dead lithium batteries. If there is still some lithium metal or lithium hydroxide left, add the battery content in water and bubble carbon dioxide in the aqueous solution. This will form lithium bicarbonate which is more soluble in water and can be filtered from the rest of the battery. Drying the solution will cause it to revert to lithium carbonate.

Projects

  • Make various lithium salts
  • Make lithia glass

Handling

Safety

Lithium carbonate does not pose a risk to touch, however it should be avoided ingesting it.

Storage

In closed bottles, away from any acidic vapors.

Disposal

Due to the price of lithium, it's best to try to recycle it.

References

Relevant Sciencemadness threads