Dilithium carbonate, Carbolith, Cibalith-S, Duralith, Eskalith, Lithane, Lithizine, Lithobid, Lithonate, Lithotabs Priadel, Zabuyelite
|Molar mass||73.89 g·mol−1|
|Appearance||Odorless white powder|
|Melting point||723 °C (1,333 °F; 996 K)|
|Boiling point||1,310 °C (2,390 °F; 1,580 K)
decomposes from ~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, ammonia, alcohol|
Refractive index (nD)
|Viscosity||4.64 cP (777 °C)
3.36 cP (817 °C)
Std enthalpy of
Gibbs free energy (ΔfG˚)
|GHS signal word||Warning|
|EU Index||Not listed|
|EU classification||Xn Xi|
LD50 (Median lethal dose)
|525 mg/kg (oral, rat)|
Except where noted otherwise, data is given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
|what is: / ?)(|
Lithium carbonate is an inorganic compound, the lithium salt of carbonate with the formula Li2CO3. This white salt is widely used in the processing of metal oxides. For the treatment of bipolar disorder, it is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most important medication needed in a basic health system.
Lithium carbonate is an important industrial chemical. It forms low-melting fluxes with silica and other materials. Glasses derived from lithium carbonate are useful in ovenware. Lithium carbonate is a common ingredient in both low-fire and high-fire ceramic glaze. Its alkaline properties are conducive to changing the state of metal oxide colorants in glaze particularly red iron oxide (Fe2O3). Cement sets more rapidly when prepared with lithium carbonate, and is useful for tile adhesives. When added to aluminium trifluoride, it forms LiF which gives a superior electrolyte for the processing of aluminium. It is also used in the manufacture of most lithium-ion battery cathodes, which are made of lithium cobalt oxide.
In 1843, lithium carbonate was used as a new solvent for stones in the bladder. In 1859, some doctors recommended a therapy with lithium salts for a number of ailments, including gout, urinary calculi, rheumatism, mania, depression, and headache. In 1948, John Cade discovered the antimanic effects of lithium ions. This finding led lithium, specifically lithium carbonate, to be used to treat mania associated with bipolar disorder.
Lithium carbonate is used to treat mania, the elevated phase of bipolar disorder. Lithium ions interfere with ion transport processes (see “sodium pump”) that relay and amplify messages carried to the cells of the brain. Mania is associated with irregular increases in protein kinase C (PKC) activity within the brain. Lithium carbonate and sodium valproate, another drug traditionally used to treat the disorder, act in the brain by inhibiting PKC’s activity and help to produce other compounds that also inhibit the PKC. Despite these findings, a great deal remains unknown regarding lithium's mood-controlling properties.
Use of lithium salts exhibit a number of risks and side effects, especially at higher doses. Lithium intoxication affects the central nervous and renal systems and is potentially lethal.
Properties and reactions
Unlike sodium carbonate, which forms at least three hydrates, lithium carbonate exists only in the anhydrous form. Its solubility in water is low relative to other lithium salts. The isolation of lithium from aqueous extracts of lithium ores capitalizes on this poor solubility. Its apparent solubility increases 10-fold under a mild pressure of carbon dioxide; this effect is due to the formation of the metastable bicarbonate, which is more soluble:
- Li2CO3 + CO2 + H2O 2 LiHCO3
The extraction of lithium carbonate at high pressures of CO2 and its precipitation upon depressuring is the basis of the Quebec process.
Lithium carbonate can also be purified by exploiting its diminished solubility in hot water. Thus, heating a saturated aqueous solution causes crystallization of Li2CO3.
- 2 Li2O2 + 2 CO2 → 2 Li2CO3 + O2
- Seidell, Atherton; Linke, William F. (1952). Solubilities of Inorganic and Organic Compounds. Van Nostrand.
- Pradyot Patnaik. Handbook of Inorganic Chemicals. McGraw-Hill, 2002, ISBN 0-07-049439-8
- Sigma-Aldrich Co., Lithium carbonate. Retrieved on 2014-06-03.
- "WHO Model List of Essential Medicines" (PDF). World Health Organization. October 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Ulrich Wietelmann, Richard J. Bauer "Lithium and Lithium Compounds" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry 2005, Wiley-VCH: Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a15 393
- Medical use
- Yildiz, A; Guleryuz, S; Ankerst, DP; Ongür, D; Renshaw, PF (2008). "Protein kinase C inhibition in the treatment of mania: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of tamoxifen". Archives of General Psychiatry 65 (3): 255–63. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2007.43. PMID 18316672.
- Simard, M; Gumbiner, B; Lee, A; Lewis, H; Norman, D (1989). "Lithium carbonate intoxication. A case report and review of the literature" (PDF). Archives of Internal Medicine 149 (1): 36–46. doi:10.1001/archinte.149.1.36. PMID 2492186.
- Greenwood, N. N.; & Earnshaw, A. (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd Edn.), Oxford:Butterworth-Heinemann. Pages=84-85 ISBN 0-7506-3365-4.
- E. R. Caley, P. J. Elving "Purification of Lithium Carbonate" Inorganic Syntheses, 1939, vol. 1, p. 1. doi:10.1002/9780470132326.ch1
- David Barthelmy. "Zabuyelite Mineral Data". Mineralogy Database. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
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- Official FDA information published by Drugs.com