Lithium chloride

Chembox new
Name = Lithium chloride
ImageFile1 = Lithium chloride.jpg
ImageSize1 = 150px
ImageName1 = Lithium chloride
ImageFile2 = Lithium-chloride-3D-ionic.png ImageSize2 = 150px
ImageName2 = Lithium chloride
IUPACName = Lithium Chloride
Section1 = Chembox Identifiers
CASOther = [7447-41-8]
PubChem = 4933294
RTECS = OJ5950000

Section2 = Chembox Properties
Formula = LiCl (anhydrous)
LiCl•3H2O (trihydrate)
MolarMass = 42.394(4) gmol-1 (anhydrous)
96.440(5)gmol-1 (trihydrate)
Appearance = white solid
Density = 2.07 gcm-3 (anhydrous)
Solvent = water
SolubleOther = 820 g.L-1 (20 °C)
MeltingPt = 605 °C (878 K)
BoilingPt = >1300 °C (>1570 K)

Section3 = Chembox Structure
MolShape = Linear
Coordination = Octahedral
Dipole = 7.13 D (gas)

Section3 = Chembox Hazards
NFPA-H = 1
NFPA-R = 0
NFPA-F = 0
RPhrases = R22, R36, R37, R38
SPhrases = S26, S36, S37, S39

Section4 = Chembox Related
OtherAnions = Lithium fluoride
Lithium bromide
Lithium iodide
OtherCations = Sodium chloride
Potassium chloride
Rubidium chloride
Caesium chloride

Lithium chloride is a chemical compound with the formula LiCl. The salt is a typical ionic compound, although the small size of the Li+ ion gives rise to properties not seen for other alkali metal chlorides, such as extraordinary solubility in polar solvents (83g/100 mL of water at 20 °C) and its hygroscopic properties.Ulrich Wietelmann, Richard J. Bauer "Lithium and Lithium Compounds" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry 2005, Wiley-VCH: Weinheim.]

Chemical properties

The salt forms crystalline hydrates, unlike the other alkali metal chlorides. [Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. "Inorganic Chemistry" Academic Press: San Diego, 2001. ISBN 0-12-352651-5.] Mono-, tri-, and pentahydrates are known. [Andreas Hönnerscheid, Jürgen Nuss, Claus Mühle, Martin Jansen "Die Kristallstrukturen der Monohydrate von Lithiumchlorid und Lithiumbromid" Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie, 2003, volume 629, p. 312-316.DOI| 10.1002/zaac.200390049] It also absorbs up to four equivalents of ammonia. As with any other ionic chlorides, solutions of lithium chloride can serve as a source of chloride ion, e.g. forming a precipitate upon treatment with silver nitrate:: LiCl + AgNO3 → AgCl + LiNO3


Lithium chloride is produced by treatment of lithium carbonate with hydrochloric acid. It can in principle also be generated by the highly exothermic reaction of lithium metal with either chlorine or anhydrous hydrogen chloride gas. To minimize hydrolysis, anhydrous LiCl is prepared from the hydrate by heating with a stream of hydrogen chloride.


Lithium chloride is mainly used for the production of lithium metal by electrolysis of a LiCl/KCl melt at 600 °C. LiCl is also used as a brazing flux for aluminium in automobile parts. It is used as a desiccant for drying air streams. In more specialized applications, lithium chloride finds some use in organic synthesis, e.g. as an additive in the Stille reaction. Also, in biochemical applications, it can be used to precipitate RNA from cellular extracts. [cite journal
author= Cathala, G., Savouret, J., Mendez, B., West, B.L., Karin, M., Martial, J.A., and Baxter, J.D.
title = A Method for Isolation of Intact, Translationally Active Ribonucleic Acid
journal = DNA
year = 1983
volume = 2
issue = 4
pages = 329–335
pmid = 6198133

Lithium chloride is also used as a flame colorant to produce dark red flames.


Lithium salts affect the central nervous system; see lithium pharmacology for more details. For a short time in the 1940s lithium chloride was manufactured as a substitute for salt, but this was prohibited after the toxic effects of the compound were recognized. [cite journal
author= Talbott J. H.
title = Use of lithium salts as a substitute for sodium chloride
journal = Arch Med Interna.
year = 1950
volume = 85
issue = 1
pages = 1–10
pmid = 15398859
] [cite journal
author= L. W. Hanlon, M. Romaine, F. J. Gilroy.
title = Lithium Chloride as a Substitute for Sodium Chloride in the Diet
journal = Journal of the American Medical Association
year = 1949
volume = 139
issue = 11
pages = 688–692
doi =
] [cite web | publisher = TIME | title = Case of trie Substitute Salt | date = 28 Feb 1949 | url =,9171,799873,00.html]


* "Handbook of Chemistry and Physics", 71st edition, CRC Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1990.
* N. N. Greenwood, A. Earnshaw, "Chemistry of the Elements", 2nd ed., Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, UK, 1997.
* R. Vatassery, titration analysis of LiCl, sat'd in Ethanol by AgNO3 to precipitate AgCl(s). EP of this titration gives%Cl by mass.
* H. Nechamkin, "The Chemistry of the Elements", McGraw-Hill, New York, 1968.

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