BOILING POINT : 2,500°C
DENSITY : 1.848 g/cm 3
MOST COMMON IONS : Be 2+
Beryllium was identified as a unique element and as a constituent of the mineral beryl and the gem emerald by the French chemist Louis Vauquelin in 1797. Metallic beryllium was isolated in 1828 by the scientists (working independently of one another) Antoine Bussy and Friedrich Wöhler. Beryllium usage was not common until a 1920s discovery that the 2 percent addition of beryllium to copper resulted in an alloy six times stronger than the original material. Beryllium has a melting point of 1,285°C (2,345°F), a boiling point of 2,500°C (4,532°F), and a density of 1.848 g/cm 3 . Its most common oxidation state is +2. It has a high heat adsorption capacity and is nonmagnetic and corrosion-resistant.
Beryllium is one of the most toxic elements in the Periodic Table. It is the agent responsible for chronic beryllium disease (CBD), an often-fatal lung disease, and is a Class A carcinogen (as determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). The primary route of human exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds is inhalation.
Approximately fifty beryllium minerals occur in nature and over half of these minerals are silicates. Beryllium is mined primarily from these silicates, including beryl, Al 2 Be 3 Si 6 O 18 , 5 percent (wt.) beryllium, and bertrandite, Be 4 (OH) 2 Si 2 O 7 , 15 percent (wt.) beryllium. The world resources of beryllium are estimated at approximately 80,000 tons. Other common beryllium silicates include chrysoberyl, BeAl 2 O 4 , and phenacite, Be 2 SiO 4 .
Beryllium is a key component of materials used in the aerospace, electronics, aviation, telecommunications, automotive, and nuclear power
industries. It is used in aircraft bearings and bushings; fuel containers for solid propulsion jet and rocket fuel systems; gyros, reentry vehicles, springs, switches, and relays and connectors in electronic systems; fiber optics and cellular network communication systems; optical laser scanners; automobile air bag sensors, ignition switches, and power steering systems; and to moderate nuclear reactions in power plants. Beryllium oxide ceramics have a thermal conductivity second only to that of diamond among electrically insulating materials, dissipating nearly 300 watts/millikelvin (W/mK) at room temperature.
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