13 things you may not know about lithium, batteries, and lithium batteries


With lithium batteries always a hot subject at meetings of the IATA Dangerous Goods Board and the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel, you might be tempted to ask, What can they possibly say about lithium batteries that we don’t already know?

Well, here are a few things …

  1. Lithium is the third smallest element and the lightest of the metals.
  2. Lithium was one of three elements produced by the Big Bang, along with hydrogen and helium. Scientists observing the oldest stars, however, have only detected about one-third of the amount of lithium they believe the Big Bang produced. The other two-thirds are thought to be in seized battery shipments in a DOT warehouse outside Tucumcari, New Mexico.
  3. Lithium never occurs freely in nature, but appears only in compounds such as lithium phosphate and lithium chromate.
  4. Lithium is widely used to treat mental conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder. Scientists still don’t understand exactly how lithium affects the nervous system, but they do know that lithium reduces the activity of the receptor for the neurotransmitter dopamine.
  5. “Lithium” was a key single on Nirvana’s landmark album Nevermind. Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain had a tragic history of mental illness.
  6. The chorus of “Lithium” goes: “Yeah, yeah, yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeaaaaaah, yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeaaaaaah, yeah! Yeah!”
  7. The word “battery” derives from the Latin battuere, meaning “to strike.” Eventually the word came to refer to the stuff that did the battering—artillery.
  8. Benjamin Franklin was the first to call an electrical device a battery. He thought a linked series of Leyden jars looked like—and delivered a jolt similar to—a battery of artillery guns.
  9. The Battery neighborhood at Manhattan’s southern tip was named after an artillery battery stationed there in the 17th century, when the city was still called New Amsterdam.
  10. A restaurant in today’s Battery Park serves $12 draft beers. In 17th century New Amsterdam, $12 would have bought you a quart of beer every night for a year.
  11. A sportswriter introduced the word “battery” to baseball in the 1860s, comparing the firepower of a team’s pitching staff to artillery. It’s not known when the term was first applied to the pitcher and catcher, but the delivery and return of the ball do sort of resemble a diagram of a battery discharging and recharging.
  12. John Goodenough invented the lithium ion battery at the University of Oxford in 1980. He was denied the Nobel Prize yet again in 2016, but—at age 94—still leads battery breakthroughs with his research team at the University of Texas.
  13. Labelmaster now offers revolutionary Obexion lithium battery packaging. This simple, lightweight packaging mitigates pressure, fire, flames, gasses and ballistic projectiles without gel-packs, heavy liners, pellets or fillers. It meets proposed domestic and international standards for all modes of transport—even air.

Questions about Obexion? Email Marilyn Barkley
or call 773.279.2285 for details.

Labelmaster is a full-service provider of goods and services for hazardous materials and Dangerous Goods professionals, shippers, transport operators and EH&S providers. See our full line of solutions at labelmaster.com.

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