Chemical reactions

Reaction of lithium with air

Lithium reacts slowly with O2 at room temperature, forming Li2O. If burned, a minor amount of the peroxide Li2O2 is produces as well.

4 Li(s) + O2(g) 2 Li2O(s) [white]
2 Li(s) + O2(g) Li2O2(s) [white]

Reaction of lithium with acids

Lithium dissolves readily in dilute sulphuric acid, forming Li ions and hydrogen gas, H2.

2 Li(s) + H2SO4(aq) 2 Li+(aq) + SO42−(aq) + H2(g)

Reaction of lithium with halogens

Lithium reacts with the halogens, forming the corresponding lithium halides.

2 Li(s) + F2(g) 2 LiF(s)
2 Li(s) + Cl2(g) 2 LiCl(s) [6]
2 Li(s) + Br2(g) 2 LiBr(s)
2 Li(s) + I2(g) 2 LiI(s)

Reaction of lithium with hydrogen

Lithium reacts with hydrogen, forming lithium hydride [6].

2 Li(s) + H2(g) 2 LiH(s)

Reaction of lithium with water

Lithium reacts slowly with water, forming lithium hydroxide (LiOH) and hydrogen gas (H2).

2 Li(s) + 2 H2O(l) 2 LiOH(aq) + H2(g)

Quantitative analysis

Method 3500-Li C Inductively Coupled Plasma Method [1]. A portion of the sample is digested in a combination of acids. The digest is aspirated into an 8,000 K argon plasma where resulting light emission is quantified for 30 elements simultaneously.

Method limit of detection in water = 0.01 mg/L
Method limit of detection in soil = 2.00 mg/kg