March 4, 2024
Lithium Carbonate and Lithium Hydroxide

Difference Between Lithium Carbonate and Lithium Hydroxide

The importance of lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate

Lithium carbonate and Lithium Hydroxide are compounds that are used in many industries.

Here are some of their main benefits:

  1. Pharmaceutical Industry: Lithium carbonate is primarily used as a mood stabilizer to treat bipolar disorders. It controls and regulates mood swings, manic symptoms and improves the quality of life for individuals with bipolar disorders. b. Glass and Ceramics Industry: Lithium Carbonate can be used in the production of specialty ceramics and glass as a fluxing agent. It reduces melting points, improves viscosity, and enhances the properties of finished products. Lithium Carbonate – Lithium Carbonate plays a key role in the production of lithium-ion batteries, which are widely used for portable electronic devices as well as electric vehicles. It is an important ingredient in positive cathodes, allowing for high-performance and efficient energy storage.
  2. Lithium Hydroxide: a. Lithium Hydroxide is essential in the manufacture of lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries. Due to their high energy density and long cycle life as well as enhanced safety, these batteries are used in electric cars and energy storage systems. Lubricants and Grease: Lithium-based lubricating oils are produced using lithium hydroxide. These greases offer high mechanical stability, excellent performance at high temperatures, and water resistance. These greases are used in the automotive, industrial, and aerospace industries. Air Purification System: Lithium Hydroxide is used in CO2 scrubbers that are installed in enclosed environments, such as spacecraft, submarines, and breathing systems. It reacts and removes the CO2 from the air to ensure a safe, breathable environment for occupants.

Both lithium carbonate (Lithium hydroxide) and lithium oxide (Lithium carbonate) play a crucial role in the advancement of technologies, healthcare, and sustainable energy solutions. They are indispensable to many industries because of their unique properties. These include electronics, energy storage, and materials science.

Overview of lithium compounds

Chemical compounds containing lithium are those that contain the highly reactive alkali-metal with atomic number 3, which is found on the periodic chart. The lightest metal, lithium has many unique properties which make it useful in a variety of applications.

 Here’s a quick overview of some lithium compounds:

  1. The most common lithium compound is Lithium Carbonate: It is a crystalline white solid, which is used as a mood stabilizer in the pharmaceutical industry to treat bipolar disorder. As a fluxing material, it is used in the manufacture of ceramics and specialty glasses. It can also be found in lithium-ion energy storage batteries.
  2. Lithium Hydroxide (LiOH): Lithium Hydroxide (LiOH) is a solid, white crystalline compound. It is primarily used in the production and use of lithium-based lubricating oil, both in the automotive and industrial sectors. It can also be used to remove CO2 from enclosed spaces using air purification systems, like carbon-dioxide scrubbing machines.
  3. Chloride of Lithium (LiCl): The white, hygroscopic Lithium chloride solid is water soluble. It has many applications including as a desiccant for air conditioning systems and as a catalyst in organic synthesis. It is also used to treat mood disorders and in certain molten-salt nuclear reactors.
  4. Bromide of Lithium (LiBr): Bromide of lithium is used as an absorbent in air conditioning systems and refrigeration to remove water vapor. It is highly soluble in water and therefore effective for the absorption cycle of refrigeration. It is also used as a flame retardant and in organic synthesis.
  5. Fluoride Lithium (LiF): Fluoride Lithium is a white crystalline solid that is highly soluble. It is used in a variety of products, such as specialized glass, ceramics, and enamels. It is also used in nuclear reactors as a neutron-absorbing material and in dental products such as mouthwash and toothpaste.

Many other lithium compounds are used in different industries and applications. These compounds are valuable because of their unique properties. They can be used in energy storage, pharmaceutical,s and ceramics.

Chemical Composition and Molecular Structure

  1. Lithium carbonate (Li2CO3):
    • Chemical Formula: L2CO3
    • Weight Molecular: 72.89 g/mol
    • Molecular Structure: Lithium Carbonate is composed of two lithium atoms (Li) bound to one carbonate ion (CO3). The carbonate ion is made up of a carbon atom (C), which is bonded through double bonds to three oxygen (O) atoms. This results in a trigonal planar shape.
  1. Lithium Hydroxide:
    • LiOH Formula
    • Molecular weight: 23,95 g/mol
    • Molecular structure: Lithium Hydroxide is composed of one Li (Li) Atom bonded to a hydroxide (OH). The hydroxide is formed by one oxygen (O) and one hydrogen (H) atom bonded together. This results in a bent shape, with a charge on the oxygen.
  1. Lithium Chloride:
    • Chemical Formula: LCl
    • Molecular weight: 42.39g/mol
    • Molecular structure: Lithium Chloride is composed of lithium (Li), bonded with a chloride (Cl), ion. The chloride ion is made up of one chlorine (Cl) atom with a negative charge. This results in a line shape.
  1. Lithium bromide (LiBr):
    • Chemical Formula: LBr
    • Weight Molecular: 86.5 g/mol
    • Molecular Structure: Lithium Bromide is composed of one Li (Li) Atom bonded with one Br (Br) Ion. The bromide is made up of a bromine (Br) atom with a negative charge. This gives it a linear shape.
  1. Lithium Fluoride:
    • Chemical Formula: LIF
    • Molecular weight: 25,94 g/mol
    • Molecular Structure: Lithium Fluoride is composed of one Li (Li) Atom bonded with one F (fluoride) Ion. The fluoride is made up of a fluorine (F) atom with a negative charge. This gives it a linear shape.

Here are some of the most common lithium compounds, with their simplified molecular structure and chemical composition. These compounds’ physical and chemical properties are determined by the arrangement of the atoms, and the chemical bonds that link them together.

What is Lithium Carbonate?

Lithium Carbonate (Li2CO3), an inorganic compound, is composed of oxygen, carbon, and lithium. It is a white crystalline solid, which is only sparingly water-soluble. The lithium carbonate compound is a very important one with many applications.

Lithium Carbonate
Figure 01: Lithium Carbonate

The chemical composition of lithium carbonate is two lithium atoms (Li) bound to one carbonate ion (CO3). The carbonate ion is made up of one carbon (C) and three oxygen (O) atoms through double bonds. The molecular formula of Li2CO3 is the result.

In the pharmaceutical industry, lithium carbonate is used as a mood stabilizer for bipolar disorder. It regulates and controls mood swings and reduces the intensity and frequency of manic or depressive episodes.

Other industries that use lithium carbonate include:

  1. Glasses and Ceramics: Lithium carbonate is used as a fluxing material in the production of specialty glass and ceramics. It lowers the melting points of materials, increases viscosity in the molten mass, and improves the properties of final products.
  2. Battery and Energy Storage: The lithium carbonate component is used to manufacture the lithium-ion battery, which is widely used for portable electronic devices, electric cars, and renewable energy systems. It is a crucial ingredient in positive electrode (cathode), enabling high-performance batteries and efficient energy storage.
  3. Other uses: Lithium carbonate is used to produce synthetic rubbers and greases. It can also be used as a catalyst for organic synthesis.

Lithium carbonate is a potentially toxic substance that can have side effects. It is important to use lithium carbonate under medical supervision and with proper handling.

Lithium Carbonate is an important compound that has many applications. It plays a vital role in different industries and improves the lives of people with bipolar disorder.

What is Lithium Hydroxide (LiHCO3)?

Lithium Hydroxide (LiOH), an inorganic compound, is composed of lithium and oxygen. It is a white, crystallized solid that is an alkali-hydroxide. Due to its unique applications and properties, lithium hydroxide has been widely used by different industries.

Lithium Hydroxide
Figure 02: Lithium Hydroxide

Lithium hydroxide is composed of one Li (Li) and one OH (hydroxide) ion. The hydroxide is formed by one oxygen (O) and one hydrogen (H) atom bonded together. This results in a bent shape, with a charge on the oxygen. The molecular formula of LiOH is the result.

Lithium hydroxide is used in a variety of applications:

  1. Battery Production: Lithium Hydroxide is an important component in the manufacture of lithium-based batteries, especially lithium iron phosphate batteries (LiFePO4). Due to their high energy density and long cycle life as well as improved safety features, these batteries are widely used for electric vehicles, energy storage systems and portable electronic devices.
  2. Lubricants & Grease: Lithium Hydroxide is used to produce lithium-based lubricating oils. These greases are resistant to water, oxidation, and high temperatures. They also offer excellent mechanical properties. These greases are used to reduce friction in automotive, aerospace, and industrial applications.
  3. Air Purification Systems: Lithium Hydroxide is used in carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbers or scrubbers. Lithium hydroxide is used in closed environments, such as spacecraft, submarines,s, and breathing systems. It reacts with CO2 and removes it from the air. This creates a breathable and safe atmosphere for occupants.
  4. Other uses: Lithium Hydroxide is used to produce specialty glasses, ceramics, and enamels. It is used as a pH-regulator in various chemical processes and as a catalyst in organic synthesis.

Handling lithium hydroxide is crucial as it can be caustic, irritating to the skin and eyes. When working with this compound, safety precautions must be taken to prevent direct contact or inhalation.

Lithium hydroxide, an extremely versatile compound, has many applications, including in the battery industry, lubrication, and air purification. Its unique properties are valuable for advancing technology and improving various products and processes.

What is the difference between Lithium Hydroxide and Lithium Hydroxide?

Their chemical composition and physical properties are the main differences between lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.

Here are some key differences:

 

  1. Chemical Composition:
    • Carbonate of Lithium: The carbonate of lithium is composed of carbon (C) and oxygen (O). It is composed of two lithium atoms bound to one carbonate ion (CO3).
    • The hydroxide of Lithium: Lithium (Li), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O) are all atoms in lithium hydroxide. It is composed of one lithium atom bound to one hydroxide ion (OH).
  1. Molecular structure:
    • Carbonate Lithium: The carbonate ion is composed of three oxygen atoms and one carbon atom. The carbonate ion is trigonal planar in shape.
    • The hydroxide of Lithium: The molecular structure of lithium hydroxide is one lithium atom bound to an ion consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom. The hydroxide has a bent form with a charge on the oxygen.
  1. Physical properties:
    • Carbonate Lithium: The crystalline white solid lithium carbonate is only sparingly water-soluble. It has an atomic weight of 73.89 grams per mol.
    • Hydroxide of Lithium: The crystalline white solid is soluble in liquid water. It has a molecular mass of 23,95 g/mol, which is lower than lithium carbonate.
  1. Applications and Uses:
    • Carbonate de Lithium: The pharmaceutical industry uses lithium carbonate as a mood stabilizer to treat bipolar disorder. It is used to make specialty glasses and ceramics.
    • Hydroxide of Lithium: Lithium-based lubricating oils are used to make lithium hydroxide, and they find use in the automotive and industrial industries. It can also be used to remove CO2 from air purification systems and in certain battery chemistries.
  1. Chemical Reactivity:
    • Carbonate of Lithium: The carbonate of lithium is less reactive and more stable than the hydroxide.
    • The hydroxide of Lithium: The hydroxide of lithium is highly reactive, and it is a very strong base. It easily reacts with acids, forming salts and water.

There are some key differences between lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate in terms of chemical composition, molecular structure, physical characteristics, applications, and reactivity. Each compound has unique properties and uses in different industries.

Chemical Stability and Reactivity

There are a few differences between lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate in terms of their chemical reactivity:

  1. Chemical Reactivity:
    • Carbonate of Lithium: The carbonate of lithium is less reactive and more stable. Normal conditions do not cause it to react readily with the majority of common chemicals and substances.
    • The hydroxide of Lithium: Lithium hydroxide has a higher reactivity than lithium carbonate. It can be used as a base to react with acids and produce salts and water. It can also absorb moisture from the air (hygroscopic).
  1. Stability:
    • Carbonate of Lithium: Under normal conditions, lithium carbonate is stable. When stored correctly, it is not susceptible to decomposition.
    • Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is stable in normal conditions. However, it will slowly decompose with time if there is carbon dioxide in the air. This results in lithium carbonate, and water.
  1. Solubility:
    • Carbonate of Lithium: The carbonate of lithium is sparingly water-soluble, which means that it dissolves only to a small extent. The solubility increases as the temperature rises.
    • Lithium Hydroxide: Lithium hydroxide is soluble and easily dissociates in water into lithium ions Li+ and hydroxide (OH-).
  1. Acid-Base Properties:
    • Carbonate of Lithium: The carbonate of lithium is a compound that does not have significant acidic or basic properties. The hydroxidee of Lithium: The hydroxide of lithium is a strong acidic base that readily reacts with acids, forming salts and water.
  1. Stability of Air:
    • Lithium Carbonate: Lithium Carbonate is relatively stable when exposed to air, oxygen, and moisture.
    • The hydroxide of Lithium: Due to its hygroscopic properties, lithium hydroxide can absorb moisture in the air. This can lead to the eventual formation of lithium carboxylate over time.

Both lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide must be handled and stored according to recommended safety guidelines. Although lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate are stable in normal conditions, it is important to take precautions to avoid being exposed to moisture, acids, or other substances that may affect their stability.

Health and Safety Considerations

It is important to take safety measures when handling or using lithium carbonate, Li2CO3, and lithium hydroxide, LiOH. This is because of their potential hazards. These compounds are subject to some important health and safety concerns.

  1. Inhalation & Skin Contact:
    • Inhaling dust or aerosols of lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide may irritate respiratory systems. When working with these compounds, inhalation must be avoided and ventilation should be adequate.
    • Skin irritation can occur when these compounds are directly contacted, especially in concentrated or powdered form. Wear protective gloves and clothing to avoid skin contact. Any contaminated clothing must be removed immediately.
  1. Eye contact:
    • Lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide compounds can cause eye irritation or burns when handled improperly, so safety goggles or face masks are advised for handling these chemicals. Should eye contact occur, immediately rinse with water for several minutes before seeking medical help.
  1. Ingestion:
    • Lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide may have harmful effects on your digestive system, as well as overall health. These compounds should not be consumed and they shouldn’t be added to food or drinks.
    • You must seek medical attention immediately if an accidental ingestion happens. You should also provide accurate information to the healthcare professional about the substance ingested.
  1. Storage & Handling:
    • Store lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide in a dry, cool place away from heat sources and incompatible substances. Keep them in containers that are tightly sealed and labeled appropriately with hazard warnings.
    • To minimize exposure, it’s best to wear protective gear such as lab coats, gloves, and goggles when handling these compounds.
  1. Hazardous reactions:
    • Lithium hydroxide, a strong base, can react with acids and produce water and salts. Avoid contact with chemicals or acids that are reactive or strong. This can lead to dangerous or violent reactions.

Lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate should always be handled according to all safety guidelines provided by their manufacturers, regulatory authorities, or local occupational safety and health regulations. If any accidents, exposures, or uncertainties arise that cause concern for you, contact your healthcare provider or poison control center immediately for guidance.

The conclusion of the article

Lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate are two important lithium compounds that have distinct properties and applications.

It is used primarily as a mood stabilizer in the treatment of bipolar disorder. Lithium Carbonate can also be found in specialty glasses, ceramics, and lithium-ion battery production. It is less reactive and sparingly water-soluble.

Lithium hydroxide is used to make lubricating greases, air purification devices, and some battery chemistries. It is a base that is more reactive than lithium carbonate and soluble in liquid water.

To minimize the risks, it is important to follow health and safety precautions when working with these compounds. Use protective gear and avoid inhalation, skin, eye, and ingesting. To ensure safety, it is important to use the right methods of storage, handling, and disposal.

Understanding the differences between Lithium Carbonate and Lithium Hydroxide, and their respective properties, is important to their safe and effective usage in different industries and for medical treatments.