• Ian Baker


You may remember lithium from high school chemistry where a favorite demonstration is to put lithium on water. Yes, on water. Lithium with an atomic number of 3 is the element with the lowest atomic number that is solid at room temperature and is the lightest elemental solid at only 534 kg m−3 and, thus, is much less dense than water at 1000 kg m−3 . The lithium reacts violently with water whizzing around the surface as it forms an oxide and releases hydrogen, which burns with a blue flame. The other alkali metals that one can do this with are sodium and potassium since they are also less dense than water at 968 kg m−3 and 862 kg m−3, respectively, but their reaction with water is much more violent. Lithium is a silvery white metal that oxidizes so rapidly in air that it is stored under either argon or oil.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Baker
    • 1
  1. 1.Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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