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The soft, silvery white alkali metal lithium is the lightest of all the metallic elements and the least dense solid element. It is a highly reactive and flammable element that must be stored in vacuum or inert atmosphere, or in an inert liquid such as purified kerosene or mineral oil.
It is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, and is found in a wide range of pegmatites. The largest deposits are in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Western Australia.
Lithium occurs in a variety of chemical forms, including powder, crystals, and ions. It is a monovalent alkali metal that has a similar ionic radius to sodium and magnesium. It is a member of the alkali metal group and is used in many applications, including heat-resistant glass and ceramics, lithium grease lubricants, flux additives for iron and steel production, and lithium metal batteries and lithium-ion batteries.
In addition to its basic chemical properties, lithium is also a major component of cellular membranes. It permeates through ligand-gated ion channels and crosses both nuclear and mitochondrial membranes.
Lithium ion is a non-porous ionic species and can be transported across most cell membranes through voltage-gated and epithelial sodium channels, as well as through ligand-gated potassium and calcium channels. It is a strong conductor of electricity and is able to transport energy more efficiently than potassium and sodium ions. This makes it a good electrochemical candidate for use as an active material in Li-ion batteries and other electronic devices.