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The reactions of lithium with nitrogen and water vapour Irvine, Wayne Ronald

Abstract

The reactions of lithium disks with dry and moist nitrogen and with water-vapour were investigated at temperatures from 22 to 70 degrees Centigrade with the use of a thermal balance. The reaction in nitrogen commenced with nucleation of lithium nitride at corners and edges of the sample and the reaction proceeded by lateral growth of these nuclei through the specimen. In moist gas, this reaction was accompanied by the simultaneous formation of lithium hydroxide at the plane surface of the specimen. Based on visual observations of the samples during the reaction, a model describing the geometry of nucleus formation was constructed and was used to calculate growth velocities from the reaction curves obtained with the thermal balance. The dependence of growth velocity on temperature, nitrogen partial pressure, and the moisture content of the reaction gas was investigated. The reaction with water-vapour was observed to proceed in three distinct stages. The results have been explained in terms of a model involving recrystallization and hydration of an initially coherent lithium hydroxide film.

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