Periodic Table


Atomic number: 3
Atomic weight: 6.941
Symbol: Li
Group number: 1
Electronic configuration: [He].2s1


Lithium is a Group 1 (IA) element containing just a single valence electron (1s22s1). Group 1 elements are called alkali metals. Lithium is a low density solid only about half as dense as water. A freshly cut lithium chunk is silvery but it tarnishes in a minute or so in air to give a grey surface. It is used in combination with aluminium and magnesium for light-weight alloys, and is also used in batteries, some greases, some glasses, and in medicine.

General information

Discoveror: Johan August Arfvedson
Date discovered: 1817
Discovered at: Stockholm, Sweden
Meaning of name: From the Greek word "lithos" meaning "stone"

Physical data

Standard state: solid at 298 K
Colour: silvery white/grey
Density of solid at ambient temperature/kg m-3: 535
Molar volume/cm3: 13.02

Radii /pm

Atomic: 167
Covalent (single bond):
Pauling radius for the ion [Li]-: no data

Valence shell orbital radius maxima (Rmax)
orbital s p d f
radius164.1no datano datano data


Both values are quoted on the Pauling scale.

Pauling: 0.98
Allred Rochow: 0.97

Crystal Structure

structure: bcc (body-centred cubic)

The following CrystalMaker image represents the solid state structure. For most elements, the most stable allotrope is illustrated. Try WebElements version 2 for interactive virtual reality and CHIME images.


Temperatures (/K)

melting point: 453.69
boiling point: 1615

Enthalpies /kJ mol-1

fusion: 3.00
vaporization: 147.1

single bond enthalpies:
Li-F Li-Cl Li-Br Li-I Li-Li
573 464 418 347 106.48

Ionization enthalpies /kJ mol-1

Number Enthalpy


This section gives some data for naturally occurring isotopes.
Nominal mass Accurate mass % natural abundance
6Li6.0151214 (7)7.5 (2)
7Li7.0160030 (9)92.5 (2)

Further Information

Copyright 1997 Mark Winter
Department of Chemistry at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7HF, England.

The current version of this document is at http://www.shef.ac.uk/~chem/web-elements-I/Li.html