Lithium hydride

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Lithium hydride
Lithium hydride crystal by ChemicalForce.jpg
Crystallized LiH. It's blue not because of the reflection of the glove color, but because lithium hydride turns blue as it ages.
IUPAC name
Lithium hydride
Other names
Lithium monohydride
Jmol-3D images Image
Molar mass 7.95 g/mol
Appearance White or light gray samples
Odor Odorless
Density 0.78 g/cm3
Melting point 688.7 °C (1,271.7 °F; 961.9 K)
Boiling point 900 °C (1,650 °F; 1,170 K) (decomposes)
Solubility Reacts with alcohols, aldehydes, amines, ammonia, carboxylic acids, DMSO, esters, ethers, halocarbons, ketones
Soluble in molten lithium borohydride, lithium fluoride and sodium hydride
Slightly soluble in dimethylformamide
Insoluble in hydrocarbons
Vapor pressure ~0 mmHg
170.8 J·mol-1K-1
-90.65 kJ/mol
Safety data sheet Sigma-Aldrich
Related compounds
Related compounds
Sodium hydride
Calcium hydride
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Infobox references

Lithium hydride is an inorganic compound with the formula LiH.



Lithium hydride reacts with water to release hydrogen.

LiH + H2O → LiOH + H2


Lithium hydride is an odorless white or slight grayish solid, which reacts with most solvents and is insoluble in those with which it doesn't react, like hydrocarbons.


Lithium hydride is sold by chemical suppliers, though it's not cheap, and it's hard to find.

On Alibaba one can find many sellers selling what is described as "lihium hydride", but be very careful if you want to purchase the product from there, since most of the prices listed for this compound are very low, which may be suspicious, since lithium compounds aren't cheap, let alone a hydrogen-rich and potentially pyrophoric powdered lithium compound.


Can be prepared by reacting molten lithium metal with hydrogen. The reaction takes place in a nickel crucible, between 450-500 °C, and the hydrogen used must be air and water-free. The yield of this reaction is 95%.[1]

However, the reaction can proceed at temperatures as low as 29 °C. The yield is 60% at 99 °C and 85% at 125 °C, and the rate depends significantly on the surface condition of LiH and the purity of the inert gas used as inert conditions.

Hydrogenolysis of n-butyllithium at normal temperature and atmospheric pressure in the absence of catalyst will yield LiH.[2]




Lithium hydride is very reactive towards most common solvents, it will even slowly attack ethers. It may spontaneously ignite in moist air if finely divided. Bulk LiH however, is much less reactive.


Lithium hydride must be kept in air-tight containers, in an inert atmosphere, away from moisture. Schlenk flasks are good storage containers.


Lithium hydride can be safely neutralized by slowly adding it in a large volume of alcohol, followed by slow addition of water.


  1. Brandt, P.; Acta Chemica Scandinavica (1947-1973); vol. 3; (1949); p. 1050 - 1057
  2. Gilman, H.; Jacoby, A. L.; Ludeman, H.; Journal of the American Chemical Society; vol. 60; (1938); p. 2336 - 2338

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