The gravimetric method in general use for the determination of lithium is tedious, and the final weighed product often contains other alkali metals. A fluorometric method was developed to shorten the time required for the analysis and to assure that the final determination is for lithium alone. This procedure is based on the complex formed between lithium and 8-hydroxyquinoline. The fluorescence is developed in a slightly alkaline solution of 95% alcohol and measurement is made on a photoelectric fluorometer. Separation from the ore is carried out by the wet method or by the distillation procedure. Sodium and potassium are removed by alcohol and ether, but complete separation is not necessary. Comparison of analyzed samples shows excellent agreement with spectrographic and gravimetric methods. The fluorometric method is more rapid than the gravimetric and produces more conclusive results. Another useful application is in the preparation of standard lithium solutions from reagent quality salts when a known standard is available. In this case no separations are necessary.
Additional publication details
Determination of lithium in rocks: Fluorometric method