Lithium chloride is a colorless solid. It makes a bright red color in a flame. It absorbs water, unlike other alkali metal chlorides. It also dissolves more easily in water than other alkali metal chlorides.
Lithium chloride can be made by igniting lithium and chlorine, but it is difficult because the reaction is violent. This makes the anhydrous (without water attached) form. Another way is mixing lithium oxide, lithium hydroxide, or lithium carbonate with hydrochloric acid. This makes the hydrate (water attached to the molecule). The hydrous form can be dried to the anhydrous form by heating it with hydrogen chloride gas.
Lithium chloride is used to make lithium metal. Lithium chloride is melted and electrolyzed. This makes liquid lithium metal. It is used to dry air. It is also used as a flux for aluminium. It can be used in making organic compounds. It can be used to color flames red.
Lithium chloride is somewhat toxic. It was going to be used as a salt substitute but people found that it is toxic. It affects the central nervous system.
- Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. "Inorganic Chemistry" Academic Press: San Diego, 2001. ISBN 0-12-352651-5.