Lithium (from Greek:λίθος lithos, ‘stone’) is a chemical element with the symbol Li and atomic number 3. It is a soft, silver-white metal belonging to the Alkali Metal group of chemical elements. Under standard conditions it is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element.

It belongs to group 1 of the periodic table having trivial name alkali metals*.

Table of Contents

Lithium Facts

Read key information and facts about element Lithium

Name Lithium
Atomic Number 3
Atomic Symbol Li
Atomic Weight 6.941
Phase Solid
Color Silver
Appearance silvery-white
Classification Alkali Metal
Group in Periodic Table 1
Group Name lithium family
Period in Periodic Table period 2
Block in Periodic Table s -block
Electronic Configuration [He] 2s1
Electronic Shell Structure (Electrons per shell) 2, 1
Melting Point 453.69 K
Boiling Point 1615 K
CAS Number CAS7439-93-2

How to Locate Lithium on Periodic Table

Periodic table is arranged by atomic number, number of protons in the nucleus which is same as number of electrons. The atomic number increases from left to right. Periodic table starts at top left ( Atomic number 1) and ends at bottom right (atomic number 118). Therefore you can directly look for atomic number 3 to find Lithium on periodic table.

Another way to read periodic table and locate an element is by using group number (column) and period number (row). To locate Lithium on periodic table look for cross section of group 1 and period 2 in the modern periodic table.

Lithium History

The element Lithium was discovered by A. Arfwedson in year 1817 in Sweden. Lithium was first isolated by W. T. Brande in 1821. Lithium derived its name the Greek word lithos, meaning ‘stone’.

Arfwedson discovered the alkali in petalite.

Lithium Presence: Abundance in Nature and Around Us

The table below shows the abundance of Lithium in Universe, Sun, Meteorites, Earth’s Crust, Oceans and Human Body.

ppb by weight (1ppb =10^-7 %) ppb by atoms (1ppb =10^-7 %)
Abundance in Universe 6 1
Abundance in Sun 0.06 0.01
Abundance in Meteorites 1700 4600
Abundance in Earth’s Crust 17000 50000
Abundance in Oceans 180 160
Abundance in Humans 30 27

Crystal Structure of Lithium

The solid state structure of Lithium is Body Centered Cubic.

The Crystal structure can be described in terms of its unit Cell. The unit Cells repeats itself in three dimensional space to form the structure.

Unit Cell Parameters

The unit cell is represented in terms of its lattice parameters, which are the lengths of the cell edges Lattice Constants (a, b and c)

a b c
351 pm 351 pm 351 pm

and the angles between them Lattice Angles (alpha, beta and gamma).

alpha beta gamma
π/2 π/2 π/2

The positions of the atoms inside the unit cell are described by the set of atomic positions ( xi, yi, zi) measured from a reference lattice point.

The symmetry properties of the crystal are described by the concept of space groups. All possible symmetric arrangements of particles in three-dimensional space are described by the 230 space groups (219 distinct types, or 230 if chiral copies are considered distinct.

Space Group Name Im_ 3m
Space Group Number 229
Crystal Structure Body Centered Cubic
Number of atoms per unit cell 2

3 Li Lithium - Crystal Structure | SchoolMyKids

The number of atoms per unit cell in a simple cubic, face-centered cubic and body-centred cubic are 1,4,2 respectively.

Lithium Atomic and Orbital Properties

Lithium atoms have 3 electrons and the electronic shell structure is [2, 1] with Atomic Term Symbol (Quantum Numbers) 2S1/2.

Atomic Number 3
Number of Electrons (with no charge) 3
Number of Protons 3
Mass Number 7
Number of Neutrons 4
Shell structure (Electrons per energy level) 2, 1
Electron Configuration [He] 2s1
Valence Electrons 2s1
Valence (Valency) 1
Main Oxidation States 1
Oxidation States 1
Atomic Term Symbol (Quantum Numbers) 2S1/2

Bohr Atomic Model of Lithium – Electrons per energy level

3 Li Lithium - Electron Shell Structure | SchoolMyKids

n s p d f

Ground State Electronic Configuration of Lithium – neutral Lithium atom

Abbreviated electronic configuration of Lithium

The ground state abbreviated electronic configuration of Neutral Lithium atom is [He] 2s1. The portion of Lithium configuration that is equivalent to the noble gas of the preceding period, is abbreviated as [He]. For atoms with many electrons, this notation can become lengthy and so an abbreviated notation is used. This is important as it is the Valence electrons 2s1, electrons in the outermost shell that determine the chemical properties of the element.

Unabbreviated electronic configuration of neutral Lithium

Complete ground state electronic configuration for the Lithium atom, Unabbreviated electronic configuration

1s2 2s1

Electrons are filled in atomic orbitals as per the order determined by the Aufbau principle, Pauli Exclusion Principle and Hund’s Rule.

Electron configuration of Lithium

Atomic Structure of Lithium

Lithium atomic radius is 167 pm, while it’s covalent radius is 134 pm.

Atomic Radius Calculated

167 pm (1.67 Å)

Atomic Radius Empirical

145 pm (1.45 Å)

Atomic Volume 13.02 cm3/mol
Covalent Radius 134 pm (1.34 Å)
Van der Waals Radius 182 pm
Neutron Cross Section 0.045
Neutron Mass Absorption

Atomic Spectrum of Lithium

Lithium Chemical Properties: Lithium Ionization Energies and electron affinity

The electron affinity of Lithium is 59.6 kJ/mol.

Valence 1
Electronegativity 0.98
ElectronAffinity 59.6 kJ/mol

Ionization Energy of Lithium

Refer to table below for Ionization energies of Lithium

Ionization energy number Enthalpy – kJ/mol
1st 520.2
2nd 7298.1
3rd 11815

Lithium Physical Properties

Refer to below table for Lithium Physical Properties

Density 0.535 g/cm3(when liquid at m.p density is $0.512 g/cm3)
Molar Volume 13.02 cm3/mol

Elastic Properties

Young Modulus 4.9
Shear Modulus 4.2 GPa
Bulk Modulus 11 GPa
Poisson Ratio

Hardness of Lithium – Tests to Measure of Hardness of Element

Mohs Hardness 0.6 MPa
Vickers Hardness
Brinell Hardness

Lithium Electrical Properties

Lithium is Conductor of electricity. Refer to table below for the Electrical properties ofLithium

Electrical Conductivity 11000000 S/m
Resistivity 9.4e-8 m Ω
Superconducting Point

Lithium Heat and Conduction Properties

Thermal Conductivity 85 W/(m K)
Thermal Expansion 0.000046 /K

Lithium Magnetic Properties

Magnetic Type Paramagnetic
Curie Point
Mass Magnetic Susceptibility 2.56e-8 m3/kg
Molar Magnetic Susceptibility 1.78e-10 m3/mol
Volume Magnetic Susceptibility 0.00000137

Optical Properties of Lithium

Refractive Index

Acoustic Properties of Lithium

Speed of Sound 6000 m/s

Lithium Thermal Properties – Enthalpies and thermodynamics

Refer to table below for Thermal properties of Lithium

Melting Point 453.69 K (180.54°C, 356.97200000000004 °F)
Boiling Point 1615 K (1341.85°C, 2447.33 °F)
Critical Temperature 3223 K
Superconducting Point

Enthalpies of Lithium

Heat of Fusion 3 kJ/mol
Heat of Vaporization 147 kJ/mol
Heat of Combustion -298 J/(kg K)

Lithium Isotopes – Nuclear Properties of Lithium

Lithium has 10 isotopes, with between 3 and 12 nucleons. Lithium has 2 stable naturally occuring isotopes.

Isotopes of Lithium – Naturally occurring stable Isotopes: 6Li, 7Li.

Isotope Z N Isotope Mass % Abundance T half Decay Mode
3Li 3 0 3 Synthetic
4Li 3 1 4 Synthetic
5Li 3 2 5 Synthetic
6Li 3 3 6 7.59% Stable N/A
7Li 3 4 7 92.41% Stable
8Li 3 5 8 Synthetic
9Li 3 6 9 Synthetic
10Li 3 7 10 Synthetic
11Li 3 8 11 Synthetic
12Li 3 9 12 Synthetic

Regulatory and Health – Health and Safety Parameters and Guidelines

DOT Hazard Class 4.3
DOT Numbers 1415
EU Number
NFPA Fire Rating 2
NFPA Hazards Water Reactive
NFPA Health Rating 3
NFPA Reactivity Rating 2
Autoignition Point 179 °C

Database Search

List of unique identifiers to search the element in various chemical registry databases

Database Identifier number
CAS Number – Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) CAS7439-93-2
RTECS Number RTECSOJ5540000
CID Number CID3028194
Gmelin Number
NSC Number

Compare Lithium with other elements

Compare Lithium with all Group 1 elements

Compare Lithium with all Period 2 elements

Compare Lithium with all Alkali Metal elements


What is the electronic configuration of Lithium?

The electronic configuration of Lithium is 1s2 2s1.

What is the abbreviated electronic configuration of Lithium?

The abbreviated electronic configuration of Lithium is [He] 2s1. To form abbreviated notation of electronic configuration, the completely filled subshells are replaced by the noble gas of the preceding period in square brackets.

What is the symbol of Lithium?

Symbol of Lithium is Li. Lithium is a chemical element with symbol Li and atomic number 3.

What is the position of Lithium in the Periodic Table?

Lithium is a chemical element with the symbol Li and atomic number 3. Lithium is the 3 element on the periodic table. It is located in group 1 and period 2 in the modern periodic table.

What is the atomic number of Lithium?

The atomic number of Lithium is 3.

What is the color of Lithium?

Lithium is of Silver color.

Who discovered Lithium?

The element Lithium was discovered by A. Arfwedson in year 1817 in Sweden. Lithium was first isolated by W. T. Brande in 1821.

How many valence electrons does a Lithium atom have?

Lithium has 1 valence electrons. Lithium has 3 electrons out of which 1 valence electrons are present in the 2s1 outer orbitals of atom.

What is the melting Point of Lithium?

Melting Point of Lithium is 453.69 K.

What is the boiling Point of Lithium?

Boiling Point of Lithium is 1615 K.

What is the melting Point of Lithium in Kelvin?

Melting Point of Lithium in Kelvin is 453.69 K.

What is the boiling Point of Lithium in Kelvin?

Boiling Point of Lithium in Kelvin is 1615 K.

What is the electronic configuration of Lithium 3?

The electronic configuration of Lithium will be 1s2 2s1.

How do you write the electron configuration for Lithium?

The electronic configuration of Lithium will be 1s2 2s1.

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