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Oct. 8, 1946. _
2,
P'. P. ALEXANDER f
,74s
PRODUCTION OF_ LITHIUM HYDRIDE
Filed sept. so.> 1944 l
HYDROGEN`l
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INVENTOR
PETER P. ALEXANDER
A
BY
Rlisnßueswl
’
ATTORNEY5
_
2,408,748
Patented Oct. 8, 19.46
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE
PRODUCTION OF LITHIUM HYDRIDE
Peter P. Alexander, Marblehead, Mass., assignor
to Metal Hydrides Incorporated, Beverly, Mass.,
a corporation of Massachusetts
Application September 30, 1944, Serial No. 556,578
21 Claims. (Cl. 23-204)
1
erally indicated as follows:
lithium hydride and has for its object certain im
provements in the method of producing lithium
hydride.
2
The reactions that take place may be gen
This invention relates to the production of
I
-
Lithium hydride is a highly desirable compound
because of its great activity. It is particularly
useful, for example, in the production of hydro
gen gas when brought into contact with water:`
Ul
The lithium oxide reacts with the silicon or ferro
silicon to form silicon oxide and metallic lithium'.
The silicon-oxide remains in the charge as a
10 residue, while the reduced lithium is distilled and
Acommercially satisfactory method of producing
the lithium hydride has Vnot heretofore been de
veloped.
l
.
.
'
,
'
'
Such lithium hydride as has been made/is gen
condensed in a cooler part of the reactioncham
ber, removed from the charge. .The hydrogen re.
acts with the condensed lithium to form lithiumY
hydride. After the reaction chamber and its
erally obtained by passing hydrogen ' gas over 15 contents have cooled sufficiently, the chamber is
heated metallic lithium produced electrolytically.
Lithium produced byr electrolysis has been quite
expensive, currently selling for -around $15.00 per
opened and the lithium hydride removed.
VWhile the reduction step may be conducted in
As a result of my investigations, I have dis
by admitting an inert gas, such as helium or
the, reaction zone while it is under vacuum, it is
preferable tok break the vacuum after the ob
pound, so that this method ef producing lithium
hydride commercially has met with little favor. 20 jectionable air and" moisture have been removed
argon, or both, in amount suñicient to place the
reaction Zone under substantial positive pressure,
method of producing lithium hydride. The nec
for example, l5 pounds. An important advan
essary metallic lithium is obtained pyrometallur
gically by the reduction of a lithium compound in 25 tage of the inert gas is that if the reaction cham
ber should spring a leak, the inert gas seeps out
a suitable reaction chamber and is preferably
instead of air and moisture seeping into the re
converted to the desired lithium vhydride in the
action chamber. The pressure Within Vthe reac
same chamber as part of the same operation.
tion zone maybe maintained by introducing fur
In accordance with the inventioma, charge of
finely-divided lithium compound and silicon 30 ther amounts of inert gas to compensate for that
lost by seepage, thus insuring exclusion of out
bearing reducing material `is conñned ina reac
side air and moisture. f
.
tion zone. The charge and reaction zone are
Due to the exothermic nature of the reactionr
placed under- vacuum to remove objectionable air
of the condensed lithium with the hydrogen gas,
and moisture. The charge is heated to a tempera
it
is best to admit the hydrogen slowly and to
35
ture sufficiently high to reduce the lithium com
have it become admixed with the inert gas in the
pound and to distill the resulting metallic lithium.
'reaction zone; for example, as described in my
The distilled lithium'is condensed in a cooler part
Y copending application Serial No. 544,047, filed
of the reaction zone removed fromthe charge.
July 8, 1944,' so that objectionable fusion of the
Hydrogen gas is then admitted into the reaction
zone 'and the condensed lithium is converted to 40 lithium and dissociation of the lithium hydride
may be prevented.
lithium-hydride.
These and other features of the invention will
Various lithium compounds'may be used in
be better understood by referring tothe accom
the practice ofthe invention, such as lithium
panying drawing, which illustrates diagramma
oxide; lithium carbonate, lithium citrate, lithium 45 tically an’apparatus usable in a practice of the
silicate, etc. To this end, lithium ore concen
invention, as ,welll as to the following description.
trates may be employed. -A particularly suitable
The apparatus shown comprises a pot retort
I0 suitably suspended within a furnace I I having
source of lithium is lithium oxide. Silicon and>
covered a relatively simple and inexpensive
silicon alloys, such as ferro-silicon, are now avail
a heating chamber I2 with a conduit I3 near the
able in large quantities at relatively low prices 50 bottom through which to introduce heating gases ~
into the chamber, arid a flue opening I4 near the
andare suitable as a silicon-bearing material'to
top thereof through which to remove spent gases
effect reduction of the lithium compound. Ferro
from the chamber. The retort is advantageouslyy
silicon containing up to 90% silicon in the formV
>made‘of lheat-resistant steel. It' is provided with
of fine powder is commercially available and is
well adapted forthe present invention.
a removable cover I5, which may be bolted to a`
2,408,748
4
d
flange it extending circumferentially around the
l0 and valve 24 is closed, to admit inert gas, such
open end of the retort, a gasket l1 being disposed
between the two to provide a non-leaking joint.
The retort is suspended in the chamber by means
of a plurality of spaced supports I3 extending
as helium or argon, or both, in amount sumcient
to place and maintain the reaction Zone under
substantial positive pressure, for example l5
pounds. The charge is then heated and mixed
between the flange and the top of the furnace.
The cover is provided with a pipe i9 having a
before and during the reduction reaction.
valve I9’ for the controlled passage of hydrogen
gas, a pipe 20 having a valve 29’ connecting the
other pipe for the controlled passage of inert gas,
into the retort; a charging conduit 2l to supply
lithium compound, such as 'thium oxide, and
silicon-bearing material, such as silicon or ferro~
silicon, to the interior of the retort. As-shown,
the conduit is fitted with three spaced -valves22,
23, and 24, to provide an evacuating passageway
25 and a trap 25 of sufiicient size to receive a
substantial charge, for example, of lithium oxide
and silicon or ferro-silicon 21.
A pipe 28 with a
valve 29 connects the evacuating passageway with
asource of vacuum, not shown.
A mechanical mixing device 32 iìtsqwithin the
interior of theretort. It is provided with a ver
tical shaft 3l, the upper `end of which extends
through the cover and is suitably held in position
by a bearing 32 and a collar 33 secured to the
shaft. rI‘he upper endof the shaft is also equipped
with a pulley 34 connectible with a source of
power, not shown. The lower part or" the shaft
isñtted with a plurality of lateral supports 35 .e
to which is attached a helical metallic ribbon 35
As the lithium oxide is reduced7 the resulting
metallic lithium is distilled'. and »condensed in a
cooler part of the retort. Due to the manner in
which the retort is suspended in the heating cham
ber, the upper end of the retort extending above
theheating chamber, there is a gradual tempera
ture gradient from the bottom to the top of the re
tort, so that as the distilled lithium rises from the
charge, itrmeets an' environment conducive to con
densation. When> operating under the conditions
described,_ the distilled lithium tends -to condense
in the form of an annular ring 42 directly above
the top of the heating chamber
Valve I9 is then opened to admit controlled
amounts 'of hydrogen gas to `theinterior of the
retort. Unless thek temperature oi lthe condensed
lithium within the retort isl insufiìcient to initiate
the reaction with the hydrogen, introduction of
further heating gases into lthe heating chamber
is terminated. AS DOinted out aboveJ the reaction
between lithium and hydrogen is an exotherrnic
one and, unless special precautions are taken, _ob
jectionable overheating takes place„thereby caus
ing fusion of the lithium or dissociation of the
adapted, to follow the contour of the inside ofthe
newly-formed lithium'hydride. To prevent this
undesirable result, thevinertgas is retained in the
retort so as to raise Ycharge materials confined
retort so that .the hydrogen may be admixed and
therein. along the inside surface of the retort,‘and
then to roll them toward the center, thereby in
timatelymixing the charge> materials.`
A discharge conduit 4Q connects with the bot
tom of theretort and extends through lthe bottom
of ,the furnace. A valve ‘il is provided in the
conduit below the furnace bottom for the removal
of residues from the retort.
In accordance with the practice of the inven-'.
tion, cover l5 is appropriately bolted .to ñange I6
to .assure a sealed joint. Heating gases are passed
through conduit i3 into heating chamber l2, so
that the bottom of retort I0 is heated. Spent
heating gases escape ,through ñue opening I4.
Valves 24, 423 and 29 are ‘opened and valves i9',
2.82.22 and 4l >are closed until the air, moisture
and other gaseous products are evacuated from
.the interior of the retort. This may be accom
plished by connecting conduit 28 with a >vacuum
pump, not shown. To hasten the evacuation step,
the temperature ofthe interior of the retort is
suitably raised.
`
‘
On completion of >the evacuation step, valves
24vand 29'are closed, valve 22 is opened-and charge
21 of lithium oxide, silicon or ferro-silicon is
passed into yconduit 2l rand dropped into trap 2S;
after which valve 22 is closed'and valve >29 is
opened to evacuate air and moisture from trap 26
and charge 21. Valves 23 and 29 are then closed
and valve 24 is opened so that the charge is
dropped into `the retort.
-
`
diluted therewith. If the inert gas in theretort
_ is maintained at an> optimum pressure, `the
amount Vof exothermic heat released by the hy
driding reaction maybe simply controlled .by
the regulating the rate atwhich hydrogen gas is
admitted tothe retort. .This may be done auto
matically, vas described in vmy above-mentioned
copending application, A sulificient amount .of
hydrogen is thus admitted to .effectcornplete .con
version of the `colïldensed lithium to lithium hy
dride.
n The retort; and its contents are then permitted
to cool. Valves I9’ and 20’ are closed and cover
l5 is removed.
The , lithium hydride is then
suitably recovered from the retort. .
,
Itwill >be clear to `those skilled in lthis art .that
the above example is only by way of- illustration;
that the practicerof the invention readily lends
itself to anumber ci useful'modiñcations.; and
.thatthe invention offers a relatively simple and
inexpensive method of producing lithium hydride.
`Iolaim:
l
i 1*.r »_Inthe method of producing lithium hydride,
the improvement which comprises conñning a
charge of lithium compound and silicon-bearing
material in a react-ion zone, subjecting the charge
and reaction zone to a vacuum to remove objec
tionable air and moisture, heating the charge to
a temperature suñiciently high to reduce rthe
'thium compound and to distill the resulting
-metallic lithium,.condensing the distilled lithium
Additional heating gases are passed into heat
in a cooler portion of the reaction zone removed
ing chamberlZ to raise the temperature of the
from the charge, admitting hydrogen gas to the
charge within retort I0 to a temperature at which
reaction zone, and converting the `condensed
the reduction of the >lithium oxide may proceed
lithium by reaction with the hydrogen to lithium
satisfactorily. Mechanical mixing device 3o is
rotated to mix the charge intimately. While the 70
2. In the method of producing lithium hydride,
temperature may be checked in Yvarious ways, it
the improvement which comprises confining a
is practical to employ a hollow shaft 3 l, in which
charge of lithium compound and silicon-bearing
is placed a suitable thermocouple.
.
material in a reaction zone,r subjecting the charge
hydride.
y
p
4
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ÍIn the presently preferred practice, valve 25.
and reaction zone to a >vacuum to remove objec
is opened, after chargel 21'is droppedinto retort 75 tionable airfand moisture'admittingfinert gas to
5V
the reaction zone in amount sufficient to pla-ce it
under substantial positive pressure, heating the
charge to a temperature sufticiently high to re
duce the lithium compound and to distill the re.
sulting metallic lithium, condensing the distilled
lithium in a cooler portion of the reaction zone
removed from the charge, admitting Ahydrogen
gas to the reaction zone, and converting the >con
6.,
jecting >thefcharge and reaction zone at an ele
vated temperature to' a` vacuum to remove objec
tionable air and moisture, admitting inert gas to
the reaction zone in amount sufficient to place it
under substantial positive pressure, heating the
charge to a temperature sufliciently high to re
duce the'lithium compound and to distill the re-sulting metallic lithium„condensing the distilled
lithium in a >cooler portion of the reaction zone
densed lithium by reaction with the hydrogen in
removed from the charge, admitting hydrogen
the presence of the inert gas to lithium hydride. 10
gas to the reaction zone, and converting the con
3. In the method of producing lithium hydride,
densed lithium by reaction With the hydrogen in
I the improvement which ycomprises confining Va
the presence of the inert gas to lithium hydride.
charge of ñnely-divided lithium compound and
3. In the method of producing lithium hydride,
silicon-bearing material in afreaction zone, sub
the
improvement which comprises confining a
jecting the charge and reaction zone to a vacuum 15
charge of lithium oxide and silicon-bearing ma
to remove objectionable airl and moisture, heating
terial in a reaction zone, subjecting the charge
the charge to a temperature sufficiently high to
and reaction zone to a vacuum to remove objec
reduce the lithium compound and to distill the
tionable air and moisture, heating the charge to
resulting metallic lithium, condensing the dis
a temperature sufficiently high to reduce the
tilled lithium in a cooler portion of the reaction 20 lithium oxide and to distill the resulting metallic
zone removed from the charge, admitting hydro
lithium, condensing the distilled lithium in a
gen gas to the reaction zone, and converting the
cooler portion ofthe reaction zone removed from
condensed lithium by reaction With the hydrogen
the charge, admitting hydrogen gas to the reac
to lithium hydride.
'
4. In the method of producing lithium hydride, 25 tion zone, and converting the condensed lithium
by reaction with the hydrogen to lithium hydride.
the improvement Which comprises confining a
9. In the method of producing lithium hydride,
charge of iinely-divided lithium compound and
the
improvement which comprises confining a
silicon-bearing material in a reaction zone, sub
charge of lithium oxide and silicon-bearing ma
to remove objectionable air and moisture, admit 30 terial in a reaction zone, subjecting the charge
and reaction zone to a vacuum to remove objec
ting inert gas to the reaction zone in amount
tionable air and moisture, admitting inert gas
surñcient to place it under substantial positive
to the reaction zone in `amount suiflcient to place
pressure, heating the Charge to a temperature
jecting the charge and reaction zone to a Vacuum
suiñciently high to reduce the lithium compound
it under substantial positive pressure, heating the
and to distill the resulting metallic lithium, con
densing the distilled lithium in a cooler portion
oi the reaction zone removed from the charge,
Y ing metallic lithium, condensing the distilled
charge to a temperature sufficiently high to re
duce the lithium oxide and to distill the result
lithium in a cooler portion of the reaction zone
admitting Vhydrogen gas to the reaction zone, and
removed from the charge, admitting hydrogen
converting the condensed lithium by reaction
with the hydrogen inthe presence of the inert 40 gas to the reaction zone, and converting the con
densed lithium by reaction with the hydrogen in
gas to lithium hydride.
‘
the presence of the inert gas to lithium hydride,
5. In the method of producing lithium hydride,
10. In the method of producing lithium hy
the improvement Which comprises coniining a
dride,r the improvement which comprises confin
charge of finely-divided lithium compound and
silicon-bearing material in a reaction zone, sub 45 ing a charge of iinely-divided lithium oxide and
silicon-bearing material in a reaction zone, sub
jecting the charge and reaction zone at an ele
' jecting the charge and reaction zone to a vacu
vated temperature to a vacuum to removel objec
um to remove objectionable air and moisture,
tionable air and moisture, heating the charge to
heating the charge to a temperature sufficiently
a temperature sufiiciently high to reduce the
lithium compound and to distill the resulting 50 high to reduce the lithiumV oxide and to distill
the resulting metallic lithium, condensing the>
metallic lithium, condensing the distilledlithium
distilled lithium in a cooler portion of the reac
in a cooler portion of the reaction zone removed
tion zone removed from the charge, admitting
from the charge, admitting hydrogen gas to the
hydrogen gas to the reaction zone, and convert
reaction zone, and converting the condensed
lithium by reaction with the hydrogen to lithium 55 ing the condensed lithium by reaction with the
hydride.
hydrogen to lithium hydride.
11. In the method of producing lithium hy
6. In the method of producing lithium hydride,
dride, the improvement which comprises con
the improvement which comprises confining a
fining a charge of finely-divided lithium oxide
charge of ñnely-divided lithium compound and
silicon-bearing material in a reaction zone, sub 60 and silicon-bearing material in a reaction zone,y
subjecting the charge and reaction zone to a
the charge and reaction zone at an ele- -
jecting
vated temperature to a vacuum to remove objec
tionable air and moisture, heating` the charge
while under vacuum to a temperature sufliciently
high to reduce the lithium compound and to dis
till the resulting metallic lithium, condensing the
distilled lithium in a cooler portion of the reac
vacuum to remove objectionable air and mois
ture, admitting inert gas to the reaction zone in
amount sufñcient to place it under substantial
positive pressure, heating the charge to a tem
perature sufûciently high to reduce the lithium
oxide and to distill the resulting metallic lithium,
condensing the distilled lithium in a cooler por
tion zone removed from the charge, admitting
tion of the reaction zone removed from the
hydrogen gas to the reaction zone, and converting
the .condensed lithium by reaction with the hy 70 charge, admitting hydrogen gas to the reaction
zone, and converting the condensed lithiumv by
drogen >to lithium hydrîde.
reaction with the hydrogen in the presence of the
7. In the method of producing lithium hydride,
inert gasto lithium hydride.
the improvement which comprises conñning a
12. In the method of producing lithium hy
charge oi' finely-divided lithium compound and
:dride, the improvement which vcomprises con
silicon-bearing material in_a reaction zone, sub
7.
anca-748i;
ñning a charge of finely-divided lithium oxide,
andsilicon-bearing material in a reaction Zone,
subjecting thecharge and reaction zone: at an
elevated temperatureto avacuum to removeob.
jectionable air and '.moisturejfheating the charge
to a temperature sufliciently. high to reducethe
lithium oxide and to,.distill` the` resulting. me
tallic lithium, condensing the :distilled lithium in
a cooler portion of the reaction zone removed
from the charge, admittinghydrogen gas to the
reaction zone, and converting `the condensed
lithium by reaction Withthe hydrogen to‘lithium
hydride.
8
admixing4 the charge while the reduction of the
lithiumoxide and the distillation of the result
ing metallic lithiumtake place to insure contact
of. the.silicon-bearingmaterial with particles of
unreduced lithiumoxide, condensing the distilled
lithium in a cooler.l portion. of the reaction zone
removed from the charge, admitting hydrogen
gasto thereactionvzone, and converting the con
densed lithium byxreactionwith the hydrogenin
_» the .presence of the inert gas to lithium hydride.
17. Inv the method of> producing lithium hy
dride, thel improvementA which comprises con
iiningl a. charge of finely-divided lithium oxide
13. In the method> of producing lithium hy
and silicon-bearing material in a reaction zone,
dride, the improvement which comprises con 15..>A subjecting the charge and reaction zone to a
fining a chargeY of ñnely-divided lithium oxide
vacuum to remove objectionable air and mois
and silicon-bearing. material in a reaction zone,
subjecting the charge and reaction zone al; an
ture, heatingthecharge to atemperature Sulli
ciently'highto reduceV the lithium oxide and to
elevated'temperature to avacuumto remove ob
distill the vresulting'metallic lithium, intimately
jectionable air and moisture, heating. the charge 20. admixing the charge while the reduction of the
while under vacuum to a temperature suincient
lithium oxide and the distillation of the resulting
ly high to reduce the lithiumv oxide and to dis
metalliclithiumvtake place to insure contact of
till the resulting metallic. lithium, condensing
the silicon-.bearing material with .particles of un
the distilled lithium in a cooler portion of the
reduced lithium oxide, condensing the distilled
reaction zone removed from the charge, admit 25 lithium in a cooler portion of the reaction zone
ting hydrogen gas to the reactionzone, and con
removedfrom the charge, admitting hydrogen
verting` the condensed lithium by reaction with
gas to the reactionzone, and converting the con
the hydrogen to lithium hydride.
densed lithium by reaction with the hydrogen tol
14. In the method of. producing lithium hy
lithium hydride.l
dride, the improvement which comprises con 30
18. In the method of producing lithium hy
ñning a charge ofk ñnely-divided lithium oxide
dride, the improvement which comprises con
and silicon-bearing materialin a reaction zone,
fining a charge of iinely-divided lithium oxide
subjecting the, charge and reaction zone at an
and silicon-bearing material in a reaction zone,
elevated temperature to avacuum to remove ob
subjecting the charge and reaction zone to a
jectionable air and moisture, admitting inert gas 35 vacuum to remove objectionable air and mois
to the reaction.zoneinamountsuiiicient to place
ture, admitting inert gasto the ‘reaction Zone in
it-_under substantial positive pressure, heating the
amount sufficient to> place it under substantial
charge to a temperaturesuñiciently high to re
positive pressure, heating the chargev to a tem
duce Vthe lithium oxide and to distill the resulting
perature suii'lciently high to reduce the lithium
metallic lithium, condensing the distilled lithium 40 oxide and to distill the resulting metallic lithium,
in a cooler portion of the reaction zone removed
intimately admixing the charge While the reduc
from the charge, admitting hydrogen gas to the
tion of the lithium oxide and the distillation of
reactionv zone, and converting the` condensed
the resulting metallic lithium` take place to in
lithium by reaction with. the hydrogen in the
surecontact ofthe silicon-bearing material With
presenceof the inert gas to lithium hydride.
Vparticles-of unreduced lithiumoxide, condensing
15. In` the method of producing> lithium hy
the» distilled lithiumin afcoolerv portion of the
dride, the improvement which comprises con
reactionzonev removedfrom the charge, admit
ñning a charge of lithiuml oxide and. silicon
ting hydrogen gas tothe reactio-nzone, and con
bearingJmaterial in a reaction zone, subjecting
verting> the »condensed lithium by reaction with
the Charge and reaction Zone to a> vacuum to 50 the- hydrogen in theY presence of the .inert gas to
remove objectionable air‘and moisture, heating
the charge to a temperaturesuñîciently high to
reduce the lithium oxide and to distill the result
ing metallic lithium, intimatelyV admixing the
charge while the reduction of the lithiumk oxide
and the distillation of the. resulting metallic
lithium take place to insure contact of the sili
con-bearing material with particles >of' unreduced
lithium oxide, condensing the distilled lithium
lithium hydride.
19.' In thevmethod of` producing lithium hy
dride, the» improvement which comprises conñn
ing aY charge ofiinely-divided lithium oxide and
silicon-bearing material in a` reaction zone, sub
jecting the charge and reaction zone at an
elevated temperature to a vacuum to remove. ob
jectionable air andmoisture, heating the charge
to a temperature sufñciently high to reduce the
in a cooler portion of the reaction zone removed
60 lithium oxide and to distill the resulting metallic
from the charge, admittinghydrogen gas to the
lithium, intimately- adrnixingY the charge while
reaction zone, and convertingl the condensed
the reduction of the lithium oxide and the dis
lithium by reaction with the hydrogengtoA lithium
tillation of the- resulting metallic lithium take
hydride.
place to- insure Vcontact of the silicon-‘bearing
16. In the method of producing lithium hy 65 material with particles of unred'uced lithium
dride, the improvementwhich comprises confin
oxide, condensing the> distilled lithium in a cooler
ing a charge of lithium oxide and silicon-bear
portion of theY reaction.- Zone removed from the
ingy material. in a reaction zone, subjecting the
charge, admitting hydrogen gas to the reaction
charge and reaction zone tol a vacuumA to re
Zone, and converting the condensed lithium v>by
move objectionable air and moisture, admitting 70 reaction with the hydrogen to lithium'hydride.
inert gas to the reaction- zone in amount suiiì'
20. In the method ofA producing lithium hy
cient to place it under vsubstantialV positive pres
dride; vthe improvement- which comprises conñn
sure, heating the charge to a temperature sui‘li'
ing a chargey of 'finely-divided lithium oxide and
ciently high to reduce the lithium oxide and-to
silicon-bearing materialrin va> reaction zone, sub
distill the-.resulting metallic lithium, intimately
jecting.- the chargel and reaction zone Aat an
'2,408,745
9
elevatedl temperature to a vacuum to remove
10
elevated temperature to a vacuum to remove
objectionable air and moisture, admitting inert
objectionable air and moisture, heating the
gas to the reaction Zone in amount suñicient to
charge while under vacuum to a temperature
A place it under substantial positive pressure, heat
suñiciently high to reduce the lithium oxide and
' ing the charge
to distill the resulting metallic lithium, inti
mately admixing the charge While the reduction
of the lithium oxide and the distillation of the
resulting metallic lithium take place to insure
Contact of the silicon-bearing material with par
ticles of unreduced lithium oxide, condensing the
' distilled lithium in a cooler portion of the re
to a temperature suiiìciently high
to reduce the lithium oxide and to distill the
resulting metallic lithium, intimately admixing
the charge while the reduction of the lithium
oxide and the distillation of the resulting metallic
lithium take place to insure contact of the silicon
bearing material with particles of unreduced
lithium oxide, condensing the distilled lithium
action zone removed from the charge, admitting
hydrogen gas to the reaction zone, and con
in a cooler portion of the reaction zone removed
from the charge, admitting hydrogen gas to the
verting the condensed lithium by reaction with
the hydrogen to lithium hydride.
21. In the method of producing lithium hy
dride, the improvement which comprises con
reaction zone, and converting the condensed
lithium by reaction with the hydrogen in the
presence of the inert gasto lithium hydride.
ñm‘ng a charge of finely-divided lithium oxide
and silicon-bearingmaterial in a reaction zone,
subjecting the charge and reactiony zone at an 20
PETER P. ALEXANDER.
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