lithium ingot is an important metal for the production of batteries, which have become essential components in laptops, cellphones, and electric cars. It is produced from either spodumene ore, or from lithium salts extracted from underground brine reservoirs.
In general, lithium is a soft, silvery-white alkali metal with the atomic number of 3. It has been used in atomic reactors, light alloys and batteries.
A wide range of alloys are used for the manufacture of lithium ingots, including copper, chromium, magnesium, aluminum and silicon. A ductile metal, lithium is often used as an anode material in batteries.
The optimum temperature for the extrusion process of a lithium/lithium alloy ingot is between about 300 and 600°C. This is to avoid the formation of nitrides (i.e., 6Li+N2-2Li3N) during the extrusion process which would be extremely hazardous.
An exemplary method of extruding a lithium/lithium alloy ingot comprises the steps of: pressing an ingot through a flow channel having an entrance having a first height and a first width, and an exit having a second height and a second width and a passage joining the entrance and the exit, the second width being larger than the first width such that the lithium metal or lithium alloy exits the flow channel with an overall width exceeding the diameter of the ingot; and thereafter, extruding the lithium/lithium alloy through an extrusion die aperture in the form of a thin sheet.
Unlike prior art lithium/lithium alloy ingots, the width of the extruded sheet is not limited by the diameter of the original ingot and can be expanded as a result of the ductility of lithium metal or its alloys. The length of the extruded sheet can also be increased by a subsequent addition of an additional ingot to the same flow die channel.