BERYLLIUM





Beryllium 3341
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Beryllium

Overview

Beryllium is the lightest member of the alkaline earth metals family. These metals make up Group 2 (IIA) of the periodic table. They include beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, and radium. Elements in the same column of the periodic table have similar chemical properties. The periodic table is a chart that shows how the chemical elements are related to each other.

Beryllium was discovered by French chemist Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin (1763-1829) in 1798. Vauquelin suggested the name glucinium, meaning "sweet tasting," for the element because the element and some of its compounds have a sweet taste. The name beryllium was adopted officially in 1957.

Beryllium- copper alloys account for about three-quarters of all the beryllium produced. An alloy is made by melting and mixing two or more metals. The mixture has properties different from those of the individual metals.

SYMBOL
Be

ATOMIC NUMBER
4

ATOMIC MASS
9.012182

FAMILY
Group 2 (IIA)
Alkaline earth metal

PRONUNCIATION
buh-RIL-Lee-um

Discovery and naming

A common compound of beryllium, beryl, was known in ancient Egypt, but nothing was known about the chemical composition of this mineral until the end of the eighteenth century. In 1797, French mineralogist René-Just Haüy (1743-1822) completed studies on beryl and emerald. Emerald is a naturally occurring green gemstone. Haüy was convinced that these two minerals were nearly identical. He asked a friend, Vauquelin, to determine the chemical composition of the two minerals.

When Vauquelin performed his chemical analysis, he found a new material that had been overlooked because it is so much like aluminum. His data proved that the material was not aluminum. He suggested calling the new element glucinium. Scientists referred to the element by two different names, beryllium and glucinium, for 160 years. The name beryllium comes from the mineral, beryl, in which it was first discovered.

Physical properties

Beryllium is a hard, brittle metal with a grayish-white surface. It is the least dense (lightest) metal that can be used in construction. Its melting point is 1,287°C (2,349°F) and its boiling point is estimated to be about 2,500°C (4,500°F). Its density is 1.8 grams per cubic centimeter. The metal has a high heat capacity (it can store heat) and heat conductivity (it can transfer heat efficiently).

Interestingly, beryllium is transparent to X rays. X rays pass through the metal without being absorbed. For this reason, beryllium is sometimes used to make the windows for X-ray machines.

Chemical properties

Beryllium reacts with acids and with water to form hydrogen gas. It reacts briefly with oxygen in the air to form beryllium oxide (BeO). The beryllium oxide forms a thin skin on the surface of the metal that prevents the metal from reacting further with oxygen.

Occurrence in nature

Beryllium never occurs as a free element, only as a compound. The most common ore of beryllium is beryl. Beryl has the chemical formula Be 3 (Al 2 (SiO 3 )) 6 .

The original name of beryllium—glucinium—meant "sweet tasting," since the element and some of its compounds have a sweet taste.

The major beryl producer in the world is the United States. The only mine currently producing beryl is in Delta, Utah. Beryl is also converted to beryllium and its compounds in plants in Delta; Elmore, Ohio; and near Reading, Pennsylvania. Beryl is also obtained from mines in China, Russia, and Brazil.

Beryllium is relatively common in the Earth's crust. Its abundance is estimated at 2 to 10 parts per million.

Isotopes

Only one naturally occurring isotope of beryllium exists, beryllium-9. Isotopes are two or more forms of an element. Isotopes differ from each other according to their mass number. The number written to the right of the element's name is the mass number. The mass number represents the number of protons plus neutrons in the nucleus of an atom of the element. The number of protons determines the element, but the number of neutrons in the atom of any one element can vary. Each variation is an isotope.

Six radioactive isotopes of beryllium are known also. A radioactive isotope is one that breaks apart and gives off some form of radiation. Radioactive isotopes are produced when very small particles are fired at atoms. These particles stick in the atoms and make them radioactive.

None of the isotopes of beryllium has any commercial use.

Extraction

Beryllium ores are first converted to beryllium oxide (BeO) or beryllium hydroxide (Be(OH) 2 ). These compounds are then converted to beryllium chloride (BeCl 2 ) or beryllium fluoride (BeF 2 ). Finally, the pure metal is isolated by: (1) an electric current:

or, (2) reaction with magnesium metal at high temperature:

Uses

By far the greatest use of beryllium metal is in alloys. Beryllium alloys are popular because they are tough, stiff, and lighter than similar alloys. For example, a new alloy of beryllium and aluminum called Beralcast was released in 1996. Beralcast is 3 times as stiff and 25 percent lighter

Helicopters will be using a new alloy of beryllium and aluminum, called Beralcast, that is 3 times as stiff and 25 percent lighter than pure aluminum.
Helicopters will be using a new alloy of beryllium and aluminum, called Beralcast, that is 3 times as stiff and 25 percent lighter than pure aluminum.
than pure aluminum. The maker of Beralcast expects sales of $20 million from its use in helicopters and satellite guidance systems.

The most popular alloys of beryllium at the present time are those with copper metal. Copper-beryllium alloys contain about 2 percent beryllium. They conduct heat and electricity almost as well as pure copper but are stronger, harder, and more resistant to fatigue (wearing out) and corrosion (rusting). These alloys are used in circuit boards, radar, computers, home appliances, aerospace applications, automatic systems in factories, automobiles, aircraft landing systems, oil and gas drilling equipment, and heavy machinery.

Compounds

Fifteen percent of the beryllium used in the United States is in the form of beryllium oxide (BeO). It is a white powder that can be made into many different shapes. It is desirable as an electrical insulator because it conducts heat well, but an electrical current poorly. It is used in high-speed computers, auto ignition systems, lasers, microwave ovens, and systems designed to hide from radar signals.

Health effects

Beryllium is a very toxic metal. It is especially dangerous in powder form. The effects of inhaling beryllium powder can be acute or chronic. Acute effects are those that occur very quickly as the result of large exposures. Chronic effects are those that occur over very long periods of time as the result of much smaller exposures. Acute effects of inhaling beryllium powder include pneumonia-like symptoms that can result in death in a short time. Chronic effects include diseases of the respiratory system (throat and lungs), such as bronchitis and lung cancer.

How impurity leads to beauty

P urity is not always desirable, at least not for gemstones. A gemstone is a mineral that can be cut and polished for use in jewelry. Some typical gemstones are jade, sapphire, diamond, ruby, amethyst, emerald, spinel, moonstone, topaz, aquamarine, opal, and turquoise. Gemstones are often used as birthstones, which honor the month in which a person is born. (For instance, the birthstone for April is a diamond.)

Gemstones are valued for their beautiful colors and crystal forms. Light reflects off them in brilliant patterns. The crystal forms are the result of very exact arrangements of atoms in the gemstone. Its perfection contributes to its beauty and its monetary value.

But gemstone color is due to very small impurities in the mineral. For example, the mineral known as corundum is colorless when pure. But a very small amount of chromium produces a bright red color. The corundum is now a ruby. A touch of iron or titanium produces shades of yellow, green, purple, pink, or blue that turn it into a sapphire.

Two gemstones are made primarily of beryl. They are emeralds and aquamarines. In emeralds, traces of chromium produce a brilliant green color. In aquamarines, iron is the impurity. It gives the beryl a beautiful blue color.

These effects can be avoided fairly easy. Workers can wear masks over their faces to filter out beryllium particles. Filtering devices in factories where beryllium is used also prevent beryllium from getting into the air.



User Contributions:

Shawanda Pierrelouis
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Nov 17, 2007 @ 12:12 pm
I think this chart is the easiest to read because i have been on the computer for four our and could not find anything but this site really helps me out so does webelements.com but this one is a very informational site you two sites should team up and i will tell all of my friends to visit your site.
P.S.
A VISITOR
John
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Mar 9, 2008 @ 5:05 am
An intersting and informative page - clear and easy to read but not dumbed down
angel gaumond
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Jun 16, 2008 @ 6:06 am
were does it say if its reactive or inert???? were was it found??
Rachael
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Oct 21, 2008 @ 10:22 pm
what is it's monetary value? That's what i looked up and it took me to this page but i can't find it.
dima
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Nov 11, 2008 @ 10:22 pm
this page is really easy to read and gives enough facts about everything thanks to this page i finished my progect in 2 hours.
jose ortiz
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Jan 15, 2009 @ 8:20 pm
dang this is the best website to do a project thanks for the help it didn't even take me long to find the things i needed it was all in order thanks a lot
Spencer
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Jun 25, 2009 @ 6:06 am
this page is even easier to read than wikipedia!
I finished my assignment in under 1 hour!!
leila
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Oct 23, 2009 @ 7:07 am
thanks for your easy and understanding article. it gave me a good chance of finishing my project. I was searching for beryllium heat conductor compounds for 2 hours and found nothing useful.
(anonymous)
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Oct 27, 2009 @ 9:09 am
Thanks, really helped with school project. I was really satisfied with the fact that you had everything needed.
ERIC
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Nov 29, 2009 @ 4:16 pm
THis website saved my life in Science class! I went from a D+ to an A! Thank you so much! Dont worry i did a bibliograhy.
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Oct 11, 2010 @ 9:21 pm
i think this atricle was perfect the correct amount of information and very helpful good job :)
JOWWER
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Nov 16, 2010 @ 12:12 pm
I like this website becuase it had ell of the elements and It defineitly helped me get a great grade on my project
mike
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Dec 28, 2010 @ 11:23 pm
I like this website becuase it had ell of the elements and It defineitly helped me get a great grade on my project
mike
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Dec 28, 2010 @ 11:23 pm
I like this website becuase it had of the elements and It defineitly helped me get a great grade on my project

An intersting and informative page - clear and easy to read but not dumbed down

this page is even easier to read than wikipedia!


thanks for your easy and understanding article. it gave me a good chance of finishing my project.
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Mar 11, 2011 @ 4:16 pm
how mutch of this chemical is on the ground as a health hasard i know the water is around oasis could the ground by muddflats also ?
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Mar 14, 2011 @ 4:16 pm
I need more information tho between today and Wensday please help
Eli
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Mar 28, 2011 @ 9:09 am
so beryllium is a compound & not an element? this website isnt making it very clear.
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Apr 6, 2011 @ 2:02 am
eli , obviously this article is clear and it is saying that beryllium is an element, becuase why would it be on the periodic table , lawl. anyways. it is found AS a compound, duh
Scott
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Mar 10, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
It helped me type a two page essay thanks so much it really helped
princess
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Sep 4, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
thanks this website really helped me with my project for school
lilky
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Nov 10, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
This is a really good place to get all of the information that you need. I finished my project in a quick amount of time.
Berylluim pun
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Dec 7, 2012 @ 10:10 am
To Berylluim or not to Berylluim?
Are you Berylluim gold and Titanuim?
because your Be-Au-Ti ful
Are you a compound of barium and berylluim, cause your a total BaBe
potato
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Dec 7, 2012 @ 10:10 am
This really helped with my science project and we got a 100
Kevin
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Feb 25, 2013 @ 3:15 pm
I just finished my project it was soo easy with the help of this website(; Thanks Beryllium
ana blair
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Mar 1, 2013 @ 11:11 am
thanks for the help that was so easy to work on this site rocks
lizzy
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Nov 17, 2013 @ 7:07 am
This was really helpful...I'm sure to get a good grade in my assignment+ I fink I'm gonna name my daughter sapphire

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