Specific optical products, i.e. for spectroscopy, use lithium containing additives (lithium carbonate, lithium fluoride, spodumene) in the glass composition.
Lithia (lithium oxide, released from either lithium carbonate or spodumene) is also used in container glass, flat glass, pharmaceutical glass, specialty glass and fiberglass. These glass products are designed for durability and corrosion resistance or for use at high temperatures where thermal shock resistance is important.
Advantages of Lithia
The addition of lithia increases the glass melt rate, lowers the viscosity and the melt temperature. Process productivity is therefore increased by a higher output, energy savings and molding benefits. At the same time, the mechanical and optical properties of the glass are improved, as lithia contributes to the strength, durability and brilliance of the glass.
Lithium Carbonate or Spodumene as Additive
The choice whether lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) or spodumene is used, depends on the requirements of the application.
In Li2CO3 the amount of Lithia (Li2O) is around 40%, whereas in spodumene, it ranges between 5.0 and 7.5%, depending on the quality.
Spodumene is a lithium aluminum silicate and already contains silicon oxide and aluminum oxide, which is a major component in glass.
Cesium and Rubidium in the Glass Industry
Various forms of cesium, especially cesium nitrate, cesium carbonate, and cesium bicarbonate, are used as glass components to achieve various objectives. The refractive index of optical glass - in the bulk or on the surface only - can be modified by addition of cesium salts. Through surface-ion exchange with cesium-salt melts or solutions, the glass surface can be made resistant to corrosion or breakage.
Rubidium carbonate is applied in glass lenses built in night vision devices.
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