Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 06:01:46 -0400
Reply-To: Tom Christman <2elks**At_Symbol_Here**BELLSOUTH.NET>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Tom Christman <2elks**At_Symbol_Here**BELLSOUTH.NET>
Subject: Re: Immersant for Metallic Lithium
Comments: To: miller22**At_Symbol_Here**LLNL.GOV
Comments: cc: "Curtis, Martha" ,
"Rivkin, Carl"

Gordon, David:

We have used a very specific mineral oil for the storage of lithium metal
for some 40 years.  The mineral oil is "dry" in the sense that the moisture
level in the oil is almost "0".  Some manufacturers ship lithium by just
coating the metal with mineral oil.

When lithium is stored in oil, it is important to ensure that all of the
lithium is covered.  As lithium will float on the oil, steel plates can be
used to hold the lithium under the oil.

I would be cautious about using oil and potassium.  Check your MSDS and it
won't surprize me that it indicated that petroleum products shall not be
used.  There was a serious accident in Oak Ridge, TN several years ago with
NaK and mineral oil.  Mineral oil had been used for probably 40 years
without incident.

It turns out that potassium superoxide had formed even though the NaK had
been coated with mineral oil.  The superoxide is shock sensitive and the
mineral then become a significant fuel source for the explosion.  The
investigation board was very critical of the operations because the MSDS
indicates not to used mineral oil.  The Lab would be expected to follow
those guidelines also.

The explosion occurred because mineral oil had been used to control a spill
of the NaK.  A Class A investigation was completed.  Gordon, you should have
access to the report on the DOE website.

I would recommend that you review the Judgement of Needs from the report.
It may be helpful.  If you are in compliance with the Judgement of Needs,
then you are probably doing everything that you need to do to handle the
reactive materials.

I will be out of town for a few days.  Going to watch the hurricane in SC.
If you have other questions, let me know.

If you need to specifics about the mineral that is used OR let me know.

If you need to contact me directly, you can you this email address or
1xc**At_Symbol_Here**  or you can call me at 865 241-0718 during the day.

Tom Christman
NFPA 484, Chair

----- Original Message -----
From: "Curtis, Martha" 
To: "Rivkin, Carl" 
Cc: "Tom Christman (E-mail)" <2elks**At_Symbol_Here**>
Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 11:31 AM
Subject: FW: [DCHAS-L] Immersant for Metallic Lithium

     Perhaps you can circulate this email to the CMD TC for assistance
with the information needed.
  Thanks, Martha

Martha H. Curtis
Senior Fire Service Specialist/Staff Liaison
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA  02169-7471
Phone: 617-984-7496
Fax: 617-984-7056
Email: mcurtis**At_Symbol_Here**

NFPA's mission is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other
hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating
scientifically-based consensus codes and standards, research, training
and education.

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 11:01 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Immersant for Metallic Lithium

Hi Gordon,

I use mineral oil (Nujol) for metallic lithium, sodium, and potassium.
Both lithium and potassium float in the mineral oil, but it does not
absorb moisture from the air and it maintains a surface coating on the
metals.  I have used mineral oil for well over 20 years on my samples of
the metals and I have encountered only minimal surface oxidation and no

My last shipment of lithium, received about 20 years ago, came coated
with petrolatum.

David Katz

Chemist, Educator, Expert Demonstrator, Science Communicator, and
133 N. Desert Stream Dr., Tucson, AZ 85745, U.S.A.
Voice/Fax/Message: 520-624-2207     Email:
Programs and workshops for teachers, schools, museums, and the public
Visit my web site:
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Gordon Miller
  To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
  Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 5:02 PM
  Subject: [DCHAS-L] Immersant for Metallic Lithium

  Can anyone advise what a good organic immersant is for lithium
  (specific gravity = 0.534)?

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