Burning of lithium from a battery

Getting lithium from a battery and its burning


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Wear lab gloves and eye protection.

Lithium may explode, if it is ignited on a non-metal surface.

There is a serious fire risk - a fire extinguisher should be ready.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

4Li + O2 → 2Li2O

6Li + N2 → 2Li3N


  1. Lithium

Step-by-step instruction

WARNING! This experiment is dangerous! You should NOT perform this at home. ONLY carry out this experiment, if you are a trained chemist, and you understand local safety and legal requirements, which are required to perform such experiments

  1. Take a lithium battery, remove the plastic wrap, and open the metal case.
  2. Take out the inside part of the battery, unwind the rolled coated lithium foil, remove the warps.
  3. Place removed lithium into a beaker, filled with kerosene for storage.
  4. Take a piece of lithium with tweezers and place it on a metal plate. Blot off the kerosene using filter paper.
  5. Ignite the piece of lithium with a burner.

Scientific background

Lithium is a very active metal. While burning it reacts with both oxygen and nitrogen from air. The flame has a red color - it is the characteristic color of a flame in presence of lithium ions.


Published on 20 April 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst