I have seen the following chemical property of lithium hydride in the textbook which seems to be incomplete:

Lithium Hydride is rather unreactive at moderate temperatures with ${O_2}$ or ${Cl_2}$.It is therefore, used in the synthesis of other useful hydrides.

$\ce{8LiH + Al2Cl6 -> 2LiAlH4 + 6LiCl}$

$\ce{2LiH + B2H6 -> 2LiBH4 }$

But why the unreactivity of lithium hydride makes it useful in synthesis of other useful hydrides?


closed as unclear what you're asking by Mithoron, Todd Minehardt, Tyberius, DrMoishe Pippik, A.K. Mar 7 at 16:20

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  • $\begingroup$ "Usefulness" is a subjective term and cannot be judged outside the context. What textbook you've seen it in? $\endgroup$ – andselisk Mar 4 at 9:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ here is the link for the page(ncert.nic.in/textbook/textbook.htm?kech2=2-7) (page 15 pdf )(288) $\endgroup$ – pranjal verma Mar 4 at 10:05
  • $\begingroup$ The equations make no sense. Not only are they unbalanced, but they have different elements in and out. $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Mar 6 at 0:43
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for the mistake,it was just an error. $\endgroup$ – pranjal verma Mar 7 at 6:37

Lithium hydride is by no means unreactive towards air. In powdered form it can react with air at low humidity forming the oxide, hydride and carbonate; if the air has higher humidity lithium hydride can combust spontaneously. Pellets are less violent but still not fully stable in air containing water vapor (as air typically does). See the Wikipedia article.

Lithium hydride is less reactive than heavier alkali metal hydrides. The textbook may be referring to chemists being better able to minimize reactions with the surroundings using lithium hydride; thus better able to target the intended synthesis reaction.


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