Lithium is a chemical element with symbol Li and atomic number 3. Classified as an alkali metal, lithium is a solid at room temperature.
Lithium and its compounds have several industrial applications, including heat-resistant glass and ceramics, lithium grease lubricants, flux additives for iron, steel and aluminium production, lithium batteries, and lithium-ion batteries. These uses consume more than three quarters of lithium production.
Lithium is present in biological systems in trace amounts; its functions are uncertain. Lithium salts have proven to be useful as a mood-stabilizing drug in the treatment of bipolar disorder in humans.
It does not occur freely in nature; combined, it is found in small units in nearly all igneous rocks and in many mineral springs. Lepidolite, spodumene, petalite, and amblygonite are the more important minerals containing it.
Lithium is presently being recovered from brines of Searles Lake, in California, and from those in Nevada. Large deposits of quadramene are found in North Carolina. The metal is produced electrolytically from the fused chloride. Lithium is silvery in appearance, much like Na, K, and other members of the alkali metal series. It reacts with water, but not as vigorously as sodium. Lithium imparts a beautiful crimson color to a flame, but when the metal burns strongly, the flame is a dazzling white.
Carbon (from Latin: carbo “coal”) is a chemical element with the symbol C and atomic number 6.
It is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds. It belongs to group 14 of the periodic table.
Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen.
Carbon’s abundance, its unique diversity of organic compounds, and its unusual ability to form polymers at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth enables this element to serve as a common element of all known life.
Oxygen is the chemical element with the symbol O and atomic number 8, meaning its nucleus has 8 protons.
Oxygen is a member of the chalcogen group on the periodic table, a highly reactive nonmetal, and an oxidizing agent that readily forms oxides with most elements as well as with other compounds.
Dioxygen is used in cellular respiration and many major classes of organic molecules in living organisms contain oxygen, such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and fats, as do the major constituent inorganic compounds of animal shells, teeth, and bone.
Oxygen was isolated by Michael Sendivogius before 1604, but it is commonly believed that the element was discovered independently by Carl Wilhelm Scheele, in Uppsala, in 1773 or earlier, and Joseph Priestley in Wiltshire, in 1774.