Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Element of the Month: Lithium!

February's Element of the Month:


Atomic Mass: 6.94 amu
Melting Point: 180.50 °C
Boiling Point: 1330 °C

Lithium: this month for thee.
Thy elemental number 3!
Reacts with water and with air
Most readily, and thus quite rare
In its pure form, and rarer far
Than most light elements. The stars,
Through nucleosynthesis spin
All other things from hydrogen,
But Lithium is so unstable
The heat at which it's made is able
To tear it back apart, and so
Not much escapes the stellar glow.

It's metal but it's not for use
Within machinery. There you'd choose
Iron made steel in alloys strong.
For such stuff Lithium’s all wrong.
It is not made for heavy work –
You could cut through it with a fork.
Reactive as the day is long,
Leave it in water and it's gone.
You stand bereft upon the shore.
You’ll see your Lithium no more:
To hydroxide it will decay
And literally float away.

The Centerfold!

Many tried, but t’was one man,
Chemist William Thomas Brande
Who in 1821
Isolated Lithium.
(It's not Christian Gmelin’s fault
He couldn't reduce Lithium salts.)
The salts are what we designate
As “Lithium” that medicates
Several mental health conditions –
Bipolar, severe depression...
Why it works we are not sure,
Yet sometimes it's a total cure.

Lithium producers see
Growth in lightweight batteries.
Produce! Produce! But do not dream
Of Lithium vein or Lithium seam.
You concentrate it out of brine.
There's no such thing as a Lithium mine.

Lithium, painting by Giuseppe Pastore.  Offered for sale here.

1 comment:

UnwiseOwl said...

I dropped in here just to say
Your salty poem made my day.