Lithium carbonate

Lithium carbonate is an inorganic compound, the lithium salt of carbonate with the formula Li
. This white salt is widely used in the processing of metal oxides and treatment of mood disorders.

For the treatment of bipolar disorder, it is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system.[6]

Lithium carbonate
2 Structure of Li+-Ions
Structure of Carbonate
IUPAC name
Lithium carbonate
Other names
Dilithium carbonate, Carbolith, Cibalith-S, Duralith, Eskalith, Lithane, Lithizine, Lithobid, Lithonate, Lithotabs Priadel, Zabuyelite
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.008.239
RTECS number
  • OJ5800000
Molar mass 73.89
Appearance Odorless white powder
Density 2.11 g/cm3
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)[1]
Solubility Insoluble in acetone, ammonia, alcohol[2]
−27.0·10−6 cm3/mol
  • 4.64 cP (777 °C)
  • 3.36 cP (817 °C)[2]
97.4 J/mol·K[2]
90.37 J/mol·K[2]
−1215.6 kJ/mol[2]
−1132.4 kJ/mol[2]
Main hazards Irritant
Safety data sheet ICSC 1109
GHS pictograms GHS07: Harmful[4]
GHS signal word Warning
H302, H319[4]
Flash point Non-flammable
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
525 mg/kg (oral, rat)[5]
Related compounds
Other cations
Sodium carbonate
Potassium carbonate
Rubidium carbonate
Caesium carbonate
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).


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 (Fe
). 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.[7] It is also used in the manufacture of most lithium-ion battery cathodes, which are made of lithium cobalt oxide.

Medical uses

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.[8] 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.[9] Lithium carbonate's mood-controlling properties are not fully understood.[10]

Adverse reactions

Taking lithium salts has risks and side effects. Extended use of lithium to treat various mental disorders has been known to lead to acquired nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.[11] Lithium intoxication can affect the central nervous system and renal system and can be lethal.[12]

Properties and reactions

Unlike sodium carbonate, which forms at least three hydrates, lithium carbonate exists only in the anhydrous form.[13] 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:[7]

+ CO
+ H
⇌ 2 LiHCO

The extraction of lithium carbonate at high pressures of CO
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 Li

Lithium carbonate, and other carbonates of group 1, do not decarboxylate readily. Li
decomposes at temperatures around 1300 °C.


Lithium is extracted from primarily two sources: pegmatite crystals and lithium salt from brine pools. About 30,000 tons were produced in 1989. It also exists as the rare mineral zabuyelite.[15]

Lithium carbonate is generated by combining lithium peroxide with carbon dioxide. This reaction is the basis of certain air purifiers, e.g., in spacecraft, used to absorb carbon dioxide:[13]

2 Li
+ 2 CO
→ 2 Li
+ O

In recent years many junior mining companies have begun exploration of lithium projects throughout North America, South America and Australia to identify economic deposits that can potentially bring new supplies of lithium carbonate online to meet the growing demand for the product. [16]

In April 2017 MGX Minerals reported it had received independent confirmation of its rapid lithium extraction process to recover lithium and other valuable minerals from oil and gas wastewater brine. [17]

Natural occurrence

Natural lithium carbonate is known as zabuyelite. This mineral is connected with deposits of some salt lakes and some pegmatites.[18]


  1. ^ Seidell, Atherton; Linke, William F. (1952). Solubilities of Inorganic and Organic Compounds. Van Nostrand.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "lithium carbonate". 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  3. ^ Pradyot Patnaik. Handbook of Inorganic Chemicals. McGraw-Hill, 2002, ISBN 0-07-049439-8
  4. ^ a b c Sigma-Aldrich Co., Lithium carbonate. Retrieved on 2014-06-03.
  5. ^ Michael Chambers. "ChemIDplus - 554-13-2 - XGZVUEUWXADBQD-UHFFFAOYSA-L - Lithium carbonate [USAN:USP:JAN] - Similar structures search, synonyms, formulas, resource links, and other chemical information". Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  6. ^ "WHO Model List of Essential Medicines" (PDF). World Health Organization. October 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b Ulrich Wietelmann, Richard J. Bauer (2005). "Lithium and Lithium Compounds". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a15_393.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  8. ^ "lithium, Lithobid: Drug Facts, Side Effects and Dosing". 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  9. ^ 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" (PDF). Archives of General Psychiatry. 65 (3): 255–63. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2007.43. PMID 18316672.
  10. ^ Lithium Carbonate at PubChem
  11. ^ Richard T. Timmer; Jeff M. Sands (1999-03-01). "Lithium Intoxication". Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ a b Greenwood, N. N.; & Earnshaw, A. (1997). Chemistry of the Elements (2nd Edn.), Oxford:Butterworth-Heinemann. Pages=84-85 ISBN 0-7506-3365-4.
  14. ^ Caley, E. R.; Elving, P. J. (1939). "Purification of Lithium Carbonate". Inorganic Syntheses. 1: 1–2. doi:10.1002/9780470132326.ch1.
  15. ^ David Barthelmy. "Zabuyelite Mineral Data". Mineralogy Database. Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  16. ^ "Junior mining companies exploring for lithium". Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  17. ^ "MGX Minerals Receives Independent Confirmation of Rapid Lithium Extraction Process". Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  18. ^

External links

Hypnic headache

Hypnic headaches are benign primary headaches that affect the elderly, with the average age of onset being 63 ± 11 years. They are moderate, throbbing, bilateral or unilateral headaches that wake the sufferer from sleep once or multiple times a night. They typically begin a few hours after sleep begins and can last from 15–180 min. There is normally no nausea, photophobia, phonophobia or autonomic symptoms associated with the headache. They commonly occur at the same time every night possibly linking the headaches with circadian rhythm, but polysomnography has recently revealed that the onset of hypnic headaches may be associated with REM sleep.Lithium carbonate 200–600 mg at bedtime is an effective treatment for most patients but for those that can not tolerate Lithium, Verapamil, indomethacin, melatonin or methysergide may be tried. Two patients have also responded to flunarizine 5 mg. It has also been shown that 1–2 cups of coffee or 100–200 mg of caffeine before bed can prevent hypnic headaches.

For diagnosis of hypnic headache syndrome, headaches should occur at least 15 times per month for at least one month. Included in the differential diagnosis of a new onset nighttime headaches in the elderly is drug withdrawal, temporal arteritis, Sleep apnea, oxygen desaturated, Pheochromocytoma, intracranial causes, primary and secondary neoplasms, communicating hydrocephalus, subdural hematoma, vascular lesions, migraines, cluster headaches, chronic paroxysmal hemicrania, headaches due to bruxism, and hypnic headache. All other causes must be ruled out before the diagnosis of hypnic headache can be made.

A recent review of 348 cases available in the literature has been recently published

John Cade

John Frederick Joseph Cade AO (18 January 1912 – 16 November 1980) was an Australian psychiatrist credited with discovering (in 1948) the effects of lithium carbonate as a mood stabilizer in the treatment of bipolar disorder (then known as manic depression). In an age where the standard treatments for psychosis were electroconvulsive therapy and lobotomy, lithium had the distinction of being the first effective medication available to treat a mental illness.

Lake Zabuye

Zabuye Lake is a hypersaline, landlocked soda lake located at an elevation of 4,400 metres (14,400 ft) in the Shigatse Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, 1,050 km (650 mi) from Lhasa. The lake gives its name to the mineral zabuyelite (lithium carbonate, Li2CO3), which was discovered here in 1987 and has been mined since 2004–2005. In 2008, the salt mine at the lake was regarded as the major source of lithium in China.

Lithia water

Lithia water is defined as a type of mineral water characterized by the presence of lithium salts (as lithium carbonate or lithium chloride). Natural lithia mineral spring waters are rare, and there are few commercially bottled lithia water products.

Between the 1880s and World War I, the consumption of bottled lithia mineral water was popular. One of the first commercially sold lithia waters in the United States was bottled at Lithia Springs, Georgia, in 1888. During this era there was such a demand for lithia water that there was a proliferation of bottled lithia water products, however only a few were natural lithia spring waters. Most of the bottled lithia water brands added lithium bicarbonate to spring water and called it lithia water. With the advent of World War I and the formation of the new US government food safety agency, mineral water bottlers were under scrutiny. The new agency posted large fines against mineral water bottlers for mislabeled, misrepresented, and adulterated products. These government actions and their publicity along with public works that made clean tap water readily accessible caused the American public to lose confidence and interest in bottled mineral water.Lithia water contains various lithium salts, including the citrate. An early version of Coca-Cola available in pharmacies' soda fountains called Lithia Coke was a mixture of Coca-Cola syrup and lithia water. The soft drink 7Up was originally named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda" when it was formulated in 1929 because it contained lithium citrate. The beverage was a patent medicine marketed as a cure for hangover. Lithium citrate was removed from 7Up in 1948.

Lithium (medication)

Lithium compounds, also known as lithium salts, are primarily used as a psychiatric medication. This includes the treatment of major depressive disorder that does not improve following the use of other antidepressants, and bipolar disorder. In these disorders, it reduces the risk of suicide. Lithium is taken by mouth.Common side effects include increased urination, shakiness of the hands, and increased thirst. Serious side effects include hypothyroidism, diabetes insipidus, and lithium toxicity. Blood level monitoring is recommended to decrease the risk of potential toxicity. If levels become too high, diarrhea, vomiting, poor coordination, sleepiness, and ringing in the ears may occur. If used during pregnancy, lithium can cause problems in the baby. It appears to be safe to use while breastfeeding. Lithium salts are classified as mood stabilizers. How lithium works is not specifically known.In the nineteenth century, lithium was used in people who had gout, epilepsy, and cancer. Its use in the treatment of mental disorders began in 1948 by John Cade in Australia. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. It is available as a generic medication. The wholesale cost in the developing world in 2014 was between 0.12 and 0.20 USD per day. In the United States at usual doses it costs about 0.90 to 1.20 USD per day. In 2016 it was the 222nd most prescribed medication in the United States with more than 2 million prescriptions.

Lithium carbide

Lithium carbide, Li
, often known as dilithium acetylide, is a chemical compound of lithium and carbon, an acetylide. It is an intermediate compound produced during radiocarbon dating procedures. Li
is one of an extensive range of lithium-carbon compounds which include the lithium-rich Li
, Li
, Li
, Li
, Li
, Li
, and the graphite intercalation compounds LiC
, LiC
, and LiC
is the most thermodynamically-stable lithium-rich compound and the only one that can be obtained directly from the elements. It was first produced by Moissan, in 1896 who reacted coal with lithium carbonate.

The other lithium-rich compounds are produced by reacting lithium vapor with chlorinated hydrocarbons, e.g. CCl4. Lithium carbide is sometimes confused with the drug lithium carbonate, Li
, because of the similarity of its name.

Lithium nitrate

Lithium nitrate is an inorganic compound with the formula LiNO3. It is the lithium salt of nitric acid (an alkali metal nitrate). The salt is deliquescent, absorbing water to form the hydrated form, lithium nitrate trihydrate. Its eutectics are of interest for heat transfer fluids.It is made by treating lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide with nitric acid.

Lithium orotate

Lithium orotate, is a salt of orotic acid and lithium. It is available as the monohydrate, LiC5H3N2O4·H2O. In this compound, lithium is non-covalently bound to an orotate ion, rather than to a carbonate or other ion, and like other salts, dissociates in solution to produce free lithium ions. It is marketed as a dietary supplement, though only barely researched between 1973–1986 to treat certain medical conditions, such as alcoholism and Alzheimer's disease.

While lithium orotate is capable of providing lithium to the body, like lithium carbonate and other lithium salts, there are no systematic reviews supporting the efficacy of lithium orotate and it is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of any medical condition.

Lithium platinate

Lithium platinate, Li2PtO3, is a chemical compound of lithium, platinum and oxygen. It is a semiconductor with a layered honeycomb crystal structure and a band gap of 2.3 eV, and can be prepared by direct calcination of Pt metal and lithium carbonate at ca. 600 °C. Lithium platinate is a potential lithium-ion battery electrode material, though this application is hindered by the high costs of Pt, as compared to the cheaper Li2MnO3 alternative.

Lithium ruthenate

Lithium ruthenate, Li2RuO3, is a chemical compound of lithium, ruthenium and oxygen. It has a layered honeycomb crystal structure, and can be prepared by direct calcination of Ru metal and lithium carbonate at ca. 700 °C. It is a potential lithium-ion battery electrode material, though this application is hindered by the high costs of Ru, as compared to the cheaper Li2MnO3 alternative.

Lithium soap

Lithium soap is a soap consisting of a lithium salt of a fatty acid. Sodium-based and potassium-based soaps are used as cleaning agents in domestic and industrial applications, whereas lithium soaps are used as components of lithium grease (white lithium).

Lithium soaps are produced by saponification of triglycerides, using lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate as the saponification agent. Lithium soaps are used as lubricant components and form-release agents at relatively high temperatures.

The main components of lithium soaps are lithium stearate and lithium 12-hydroxystearate.


Losindole (BI-27,062) is an antidepressant with a tetracyclic structure. It was never marketed.

Medicinal chemistry

Medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry are disciplines at the intersection of chemistry, especially synthetic organic chemistry, and pharmacology and various other biological specialties, where they are involved with design, chemical synthesis and development for market of pharmaceutical agents, or bio-active molecules (drugs).Compounds used as medicines are most often organic compounds, which are often divided into the broad classes of small organic molecules (e.g., atorvastatin, fluticasone, clopidogrel) and "biologics" (infliximab, erythropoietin, insulin glargine), the latter of which are most often medicinal preparations of proteins (natural and recombinant antibodies, hormones, etc.). Inorganic and organometallic compounds are also useful as drugs (e.g., lithium and platinum-based agents such as lithium carbonate and cisplatin as well as gallium).

In particular, medicinal chemistry in its most common practice—focusing on small organic molecules—encompasses synthetic organic chemistry and aspects of natural products and computational chemistry in close combination with chemical biology, enzymology and structural biology, together aiming at the discovery and development of new therapeutic agents. Practically speaking, it involves chemical aspects of identification, and then systematic, thorough synthetic alteration of new chemical entities to make them suitable for therapeutic use. It includes synthetic and computational aspects of the study of existing drugs and agents in development in relation to their bioactivities (biological activities and properties), i.e., understanding their structure-activity relationships (SAR). Pharmaceutical chemistry is focused on quality aspects of medicines and aims to assure fitness for purpose of medicinal products.At the biological interface, medicinal chemistry combines to form a set of highly interdisciplinary sciences, setting its organic, physical, and computational emphases alongside biological areas such as biochemistry, molecular biology, pharmacognosy and pharmacology, toxicology and veterinary and human medicine; these, with project management, statistics, and pharmaceutical business practices, systematically oversee altering identified chemical agents such that after pharmaceutical formulation, they are safe and efficacious, and therefore suitable for use in treatment of disease.

Metal aromaticity

Metal aromaticity is the concept of aromaticity found in many organic compounds is extended to metals. The first experimental evidence for the existence of aromaticity in metals was found in aluminium cluster compounds of the type MAl4− where M stands for lithium, sodium or copper. These anions can be generated in a helium gas by laser vaporization of an aluminium / lithium carbonate composite or a copper or sodium / aluminium alloy, separated and selected by mass spectrometry and analyzed by photoelectron spectroscopy. The evidence for aromaticity in these compounds is based on several considerations. Computational chemistry shows that these aluminium clusters consist of a tetranuclear Al42− plane and a counterion at the apex of a square pyramid. The Al42− unit is perfectly planar and is not perturbed the presence of the counterion or even the presence of two counterions in the neutral compound M2Al4. In addition its HOMO is calculated to be a doubly occupied delocalized pi system making it obey Hückel's rule. Finally a match exists between the calculated values and the experimental photoelectron values for the energy required to remove the first 4 valence electrons.

D-orbital aromaticity is found in trinuclear tungsten W3O9− and molybdenum Mo3O9− metal clusters generated by laser vaporization of the pure metals in the presence of oxygen in a helium stream. In these clusters the three metal centers are bridged by oxygen and each metal has two terminal oxygen atoms. The first signal in the photoelectron spectrum corresponds to the removal of the valence electron with the lowest energy in the anion to the neutral M3O9 compound. This energy turns out to be comparable to that of bulk tungsten trioxide and molybdenum trioxide. The photoelectric signal is also broad which suggests a large difference in conformation between the anion and the neutral species. Computational chemistry shows that the M3O9− anions and M3O92− dianions are ideal hexagons with identical metal-to-metal bond lengths.

The molecules discussed thus far only exist diluted in the gas phase. A study exploring the properties of a compound formed in water from sodium molybdate (Na2MoO4.2H2O) and iminodiacetic acid also revealed evidence of aromaticity, but this compound has actually been isolated. X-ray crystallography showed that the sodium atoms are arranged in layers of hexagonal clusters akin to pentacenes. The sodium-to-sodium bond lengths are unusually short (327 pm versus 380 pm in elemental sodium) and, like benzene, the ring is planar. In this compound each sodium atom has a distorted octahedral molecular geometry with coordination to molybdenum atoms and water molecules. The experimental evidence is supported by computed NICS aromaticity values.


Orocobre Limited is a mineral resource company based in Brisbane, Australia. The company's present focus is on lithium and borax mining operations within Argentina. Since 2007 Orocobre Ltd. is registered at the Australian Securities Exchange ASX (symbol: ORE) and as of 2010 listed on the (Toronto Stock Exchange) TSX (symbol: ORL). The Company is included in the S&P/ASX 300 Index.


In chemistry, peroxycarbonate (sometimes peroxocarbonate) is a divalent anion with formula CO2−4. It is an oxocarbon anion that consists solely of carbon and oxygen. It would be the anion of a hypothetical peroxocarbonic acid HO–CO–O–OH or the real hydroperoxyformic acid, HO-O-CO-OH (a.k.a. percarbonic acid, carbonoperoxoic acid).

The peroxycarbonate anion is formed, together with peroxydicarbonate C2O2−6, at the negative electrode during electrolysis of molten lithium carbonate. Lithium peroxycarbonate can be produced also by combining carbon dioxide CO2 with lithium hydroxide in concentrated hydrogen peroxide H2O2 at −10 °C.The peroxycarbonate anion has been proposed as an intermediate to explain the catalytic effect of CO2 on the oxidation of organic compounds by O2.The potassium and rubidium salts of the monovalent hydrogenperoxocarbonate anion H–O–O–CO−2 have also been obtained.


In chemistry, peroxydicarbonate (sometimes peroxodicarbonate) is a divalent anion with formula C2O2−6. It is one of the oxocarbon anions, which consist solely of carbon and oxygen. Its molecular structure can be viewed as two carbonate anions joined so as to form a peroxide bridge –O–O–.

The anion is formed, together with peroxocarbonate CO2−4, at the negative electrode during electrolysis of molten lithium carbonate. The anion can also be obtained by electrolysis of a saturated solution of rubidium carbonate in water.Potassium peroxydicarbonate K2C2O6 was obtained by Constam and von Hansen in 1895; its crystal structure was determined only in 2002. It too can be obtained by electrolysis of a saturated potassium carbonate solution at −20 °C. It is a light blue crystalline solid that decomposes at 141 °C, releasing oxygen and carbon dioxide, and decomposes slowly at lower temperatures.Rubidium peroxodicarbonate is a light blue crystalline solid that decomposes at 424 K (151 °C). Its structure was published in 2003. In both salts, each of the two carbonate units is planar. In the rubidium salt the whole molecule is planar, whereas in the potassium salt the two units lie on different and nearly perpendicular planes, both of which contain the O–O bond.


Spodumene is a pyroxene mineral consisting of lithium aluminium inosilicate, LiAl(SiO3)2, and is a source of lithium. It occurs as colorless to yellowish, purplish, or lilac kunzite (see below), yellowish-green or emerald-green hiddenite, prismatic crystals, often of great size. Single crystals of 14.3 m (47 ft) in size are reported from the Black Hills of South Dakota, United States.The normal low-temperature form α-spodumene is in the monoclinic system whereas the high-temperature β-spodumene crystallizes in the tetragonal system. The normal α-spodumene converts to β-spodumene at temperatures above 900 °C. Crystals are typically heavily striated parallel to the principal axis. Crystal faces are often etched and pitted with triangular markings.


Zabuyelite is the natural mineral form of lithium carbonate, with a formula Li2CO3. It was discovered in 1987 at Lake Zabuye, Tibet, after which it is named. It forms colorless vitreous monoclinic crystals.

It occurs as inclusions within halite in lithium rich evaporites and as solid phase in fluid inclusions in the mineral spodumene. Associated minerals include halite, gaylussite and northupite in the Tibet locality.In addition to the Tibetan salt lake it has been reported from Bikita and Kamativi

in Zimbabwe, from Kings Mountain, Cleveland County, North Carolina, US and the Tanco pegmatite, Bernic Lake, Manitoba, Canada.

Atypical antipsychotics
Lithium compounds


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.