Dilithium carbonate, Carbolith, Cibalith-S, Duralith, Eskalith, Lithane, Lithizine, Lithobid, Lithonate, Lithotabs Priadel, Zabuyelite
3D model (JSmol)
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|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
|Solubility||Insoluble in acetone, ammonia, alcohol|
Refractive index (nD)
Heat capacity (C)
Std enthalpy of
Gibbs free energy (ΔfG?)
|Safety data sheet||ICSC 1109|
|GHS Signal word||Warning|
|Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):|
LD50 (median dose)
|525 mg/kg (oral, rat)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|what is ?)(|
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.
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 . 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. Lithium carbonate's mood-controlling properties are not fully understood.
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. Lithium intoxication can affect the central nervous system and renal system and can be lethal.
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:
The extraction of lithium carbonate at high pressures of 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 .
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. 
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.