Lithium has many different uses. The metal is a deoxidizer and to remove unwanted gases during the manufacture of nonferrouscastings. Lithium vapor is used to prevent carbon dioxide and oxygen from forming scale in furnaces in heat-treating steel. Some important compounds of lithium include the hydroxide, used for bonding carbon dioxide in the ventilator systems of spacecraft and submarines; and the hydride, used to inflate lifeboats, and its heavy hydrogen equivalent, used in making the hydrogen bomb. One of the most important compounds, (and uses) of lithium is a lithium carbonate, a common mineral used in the treatment of bipolar disorder and some forms of depression. Artists, musicians, and writers have suffered from mood swings caused by bipolar disorder. Many lives are ruined by this disease; and without effective treatment the illness is associated with and increased risk of suicide. Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depressive illness. This is a serious brain disease that causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning. It affects approximately 2.3 million adult Americans, which is about 1.2 percent of the population. Men and women are equally open to getting this disease. The disorder typically emerges in adolescence of early adult hood. Cases of this disease occur rairly in childhood. Cycles, or episodes, of depression, mania, or mixed manic and depressive symptoms typically recur and may become more frequent, often disrupting work, school, family, and social life. A variety of medications are used to treat bipolar disorder. Lithium has long been used as a first ine of treatment for the disorder. Approved for the treatment of acute mania in 1970 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), lithium has been an effective mood stabilizing for many people with bipolar disorder.
Uthium melts at about 181 degrees Celsius (about 358F) and has a specific gravity of .53. The atomic weight of lithium is 6.941.