I'm looking to design one of my warring planets around organolithium chemistry with seas and precipitate primarily composed of a clear organolithium solvent liquid - possibly ammonia. I've searched for physical properties of various organolithium compounds and come up against nearly all subscriber-based chemical databases.

Details of the planet:

  • Gravity = Earth-ish sized ~(6.0 m/s2 to 12 m/s2)

  • Temperature and atmospheric pressure = Above the triple point for the clear liquid seas, and substantially above the boiling point of the air. (E.g., $30^\circ$C, 20 ATM for ammonia seas & precipitate in a 4 km deep (mostly chlorine trifluoride) troposphere). Hot (Venusian) planets are fine, better than cold ones. (As I look further this may be a bad combination)

  • The sky itself is a clear vapor heavier than the precipitate vapor, some precipitate clouds can be suspended in it.

  • The land mass has abundant trifluorogold and Gold pentafluoride salts (should be mostly irrelevant but it's important for their technology)

  • There is no or almost no free oxygen

  • People will explode or spontaneously combust on this planet, and they will explode or spontaneously combust on Earth.

I know these are interrelated, because the gas generates the pressure to make the liquid condense. So the problem first identifies an atmospheric vapor "heavy enough" to raise the pressure above the triple point for the liquid, where the liquid is an organolithium solvent; while the evaporated liquid is lighter than the air. So there's a mathematical relationship between the vapor densities.

What climate (atmosphere / sea composition) can create the temperature and pressure for a precipitating organolithium solvent?

(I don't know if ammonia is the best solvent for this, but the most important parts of the answer are

  • the lithium solvency of the precipitate

  • A fairly simple molecule - hopefully less than 5 bonds

  • the mass of the atmosphere is sufficient to keep the solvent near the triple point. (adjust gravity and atmospheric depth to fit)

  • Use approximate atmospheric gas density, other gasses mixed in or upper layers will adjust the density of the air to make precipitation.

  • Ignore orbit, it will adjust to provide heat for the chemistry.

Abundant lithium, deuterium and gold helped them quickly advance in fusion reactor technology. They are completely incompatible with our climate.

  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "percipitating" are you refering to a liquid phase condensing out of a gaseous phase (like rain) or a solid phase condensing out of a liquid phase (like silver chloride when silver nitrate is added to salt water)? $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Nov 7, 2019 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ Climatological precipitation - rain. It's a climate building problem. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Nov 7, 2019 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ I am adding that chlorine trifluoride and ammonia don't mix well at STP, so if ammonia is the best sea, then the air has to change. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Nov 7, 2019 at 23:57

1 Answer 1


You have a chemical curiosity planet. A fascinating idea, but bear in mind that if you intend to have a science based story you won’t be able to randomly pick and choose exotic chemicals to populate your world with. For example Fluorides of gold are extremely reactive and would not survive for long in an environment with any ammonia present (probably forming HF, Au and N2).

However the problems don’t end there. Your planet contains fundamentally incompatible chemical substances. With a sea containing Organolithium compounds (powerful and unstable reducing agents) and an atmosphere of Chlorine trifluoride (a powerful and unstable oxidizing agent) the result does no bear thinking about.

Should a planet containing the components you describe be called into existence somehow (perhaps in the same way the blue whale was in Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy) it would be a truly terrifying prospect. The result would be an enormous chemical explosion on a planetary scale that would destroy everything. There would be no “organo” anything left probably just lithium salts, hydrogen fluoride and perhaps some chlorinated and fluorinated hydrocarbons depending on the ratio of reactants.

Although the Organolithium ocean might well contain vastly more Organolithium than the Chlorine trifluoride could react with, Organolithium compounds are themselves not thermally stable and would decompose at higher temperature generating even more heat. It would be a runaway chemical Armageddon on a planetary scale.

Even assuming there was no chlorine triflouride, the situation would still be catastrophic due to thermal decomposition. As an example ethers are usually used to dissolve Organolithium compounds, but even these ether solutions are only stable at low temperatures for a few hours or perhaps a few days at most. At higher temperatures they would be gone in a flash (literally).


  • $\begingroup$ There was nothing compulsory about the Chlorine trifluoride or the ammonia, the question is actually looking for what would do best. I do know that ammonia and ClF$_3$ would be armageddon, but they had the densities I needed for the triple point. I'm a chemical novice looking for science-based help. But I did laugh out loud at your ... graphic answer... $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Nov 8, 2019 at 0:07
  • $\begingroup$ There is nothing compulsory about Chlorine trifluoride in the answer either - if you read the last paragraph., glad you liked it! Your planet was interesting while it lasted... $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Nov 8, 2019 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ On a sea of ammonia I imagined white lithium azanide beaches would form, with red-orange trifluorogold hillsides. Just need to find an air vapor? Methane would work but it's hard to bring up to 20 ATM. Anyway, this is the problem I was hoping to solve. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Nov 8, 2019 at 0:17
  • $\begingroup$ ...And hopefully people explode there. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Nov 8, 2019 at 0:20
  • $\begingroup$ Yes for sure :o) $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Nov 8, 2019 at 0:39

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