The most important use of lithium is in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles. Lithium is also used in some non-rechargeable batteries for things like heart pacemakers, toys and clocks.
Lithium metal is made into alloys with aluminium and magnesium, improving their strength and making them lighter. A magnesium-lithium alloy is used for armour plating. Aluminium-lithium alloys are used in aircraft, bicycle frames and high-speed trains.
According to the Jefferson National Linear Accelerator Laboratory, the properties of lithium are:
- Atomic number (number of protons in the nucleus): 3
- Atomic symbol (on the Periodic Table of Elements): Li
- Atomic weight (average mass of the atom): 6.941
- Density: 0.534 grams per cubic centimeter
- Phase at room temperature: Solid
- Melting point: 180.5 degrees Celsius
- Boiling point: 1342 degrees Celsius
- Number of isotopes (atoms of the same element with a different number of neutrons): 10; 2 stable
- Most common isotopes: Li-7 (92.41 % natural abundance), Li-6 (7.59 % natural abundance
Demand for lithium will only grow. A report by Wood Mackenzie, released in 2019, noted that more than $350 million was invested in advanced lithium-ion technologies during the 1st half of the year.