Technical Applications

Lithium is used in numerous industries outside battery applications. In fact the majority of the lithium produced today is used in these markets. Lithium is a raw material in the manufacturer of many industrial goods. The list of products is long and includes diverse applications from ceramics and glass to industrial greases and air conditioning. The graph below produced by Roskill illustrates historic lithium use by battery and non-battery applications.

Lithium’s unique properties are critical to many applications including ceramics and glazes. For example lithium is used in Corning Wear dishes. It is lithium that allows the dish to be taken from the refrigerator to the oven without breaking from the dramatic temperature change. Lithiated glass is also used in high-end smartphones and other touch screens due to its resistance to scratches and breakage.

Industrial greases are also a large market for lithium due to its ability to handle heat and friction. Metallurgical powder demand is another high-growth segment where lithium is used in various metal alloys, including alloys of lithium, in the aerospace and automotive sectors. Lithium salts are used as a desiccant to dehumidify air prior to cooling, lowering the cost of air conditioning for commercial buildings.

All these applications require lithium now and in the future and are expected to continue to grow, though batteries represent the largest growth segment for lithium compounds.