[Clayart] What to do with leftover lithium

Hank Murrow hmurrow at efn.org
Sun Jan 29 17:11:48 EST 2017

> On Jan 29, 2017, at 9:59 AM, Deborah Thuman <debthuman at zianet.com> wrote:
> When lithium stopped working and I needed a new mood stabilizer, I didn’t toss out the leftover lithium pills. I know there have to be binders and inert stuff in the pills, but there’s also 300 mg of lithium in each of them. 
> So….. I was thinking of pulverizing these pills. What does lithium do in a glaze? Are there other ways to use lithium besides add it to a glaze? 

Dear Deborah;

Lithium in pill form is most likely soluble, and therefore problematical for use in glazes. Generally, potters have largely turned to less soluble or insoluble sources of Litium for its considerable fluxing power. If you think of it as a really strong Sodium; yo will know how to use it. My favorite form is in Spodumene(and there are several of them) since it is stabilised by the presence of Alumina and Silica. In fact, one of my most interesting glazes is 50/50 low melt Spodumene and Nepheline Syenite. I did a Currie Grid tile based upon those two materials(50/50) in the‘C' corner and discovered a half-dozen interesting glazes out of the 35 cells on the tile. Lithium has been one of my favorite materials ever since I discovered lithospar in 1958, which was a manufactured lithium feldspar, long unavailable. My current(but no longer available) favorite source is Lo Melt Spodumene, of which I have 1000#’s or so(my lifetime supply, as I am 78). I have some amazing glazes based upon Spodumene and have learned to tame its characteristic low expansion to obtain its benefits.

Cheers, Hank in Eugene

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