In ceramics, Lithium Carbonate (LiCO3) is the best source of lithium for making glazes. Lithium is a high temperature flux, which means that it causes glazes to melt at relatively high temperatures, and is typically used in small amounts (5% or less). Because it is alkaline, it tends to produce fluid glazes with glossy surfaces. Lithium carbonate reduces thermal expansion and increases a glaze’s firing range. Lithium also improves the brightness and durability of glazes.
Some potters may notice that their lithium carbonate-containing glazes may have a tendency to pinhole or blister. This generally tends to happen when the lithium carbonate content is on the higher side, and it is caused by lithium carbonate's off-gassing during firing.
As for the effects of lithium carbonate on claybodies, you will find that this is a material frequently used in contemporary cookwares due to its low thermal expansions qualities -- this means that when a claybody has to move from a hot environment to a cold one (or vice-versa), the addition of lithium carbonate may help to cut back on thermal expansion enough to prevent cracking. Research is still being done on this material as a ceramic body additive.
The Ceramic Shop’s lithium carbonate is available in a fine-mesh powder.
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