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Nickel titanium

Nickel titanium, also known as Nitinol (part of shape memory alloy), is

a metal alloy of nickel and titanium, where the two elements are present in roughly equal atomic
percentages e.g. Nitinol 55, Nitinol 60.

Nitinol alloys exhibit two closely related and unique properties: shape memory effect (SME)
and superelasticity (SE; also called pseudoelasticity, PE). Shape memory is the ability of nitinol to
undergo deformation at one temperature, then recover its original, undeformed shape upon heating
above its "transformation temperature". Superelasticity occurs at a narrow temperature range just
above its transformation temperature; in this case, no heating is necessary to cause the undeformed
shape to recover, and the material exhibits enormous elasticity, some 10-30 times that of ordinary


3Manufacturing process
o 5.1Thermal and electrical actuators
o 5.2Biocompatible and biomedical applications
o 5.3Damping systems in structural engineering
o 5.4Other applications and prototypes
7Further reading
8External links

The word Nitinol is derived from its composition and its place of discovery: (Nickel Titanium-
Naval Ordnance Laboratory). William J. Buehler[1] along with Frederick Wang,[2] discovered its
properties during research at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in 1959.[3][4]Buehler was attempting to
make a better missile nose cone, which could resist fatigue, heat and the force of impact. Having
found that a 1:1 alloy of nickel and titanium could do the job, in 1961 he presented a sample at a
laboratory management meeting. The sample, folded up like an accordion, was passed around and
flexed by the participants. One of them applied heat from his pipe lighter to the sample and, to
everyone's surprise, the accordion-shaped strip stretched and took its previous shape.[5]
While the potential applications for nitinol were realized immediately, practical efforts to
commercialize the alloy did not take place until a decade later. This delay was largely because of the
extraordinary difficulty of melting, processing and machining the alloy. Even these efforts
encountered financial challenges that were not readily overcome until the 1980s, when these
practical difficulties finally began to be resolved.
The discovery of the shape-memory effect in general dates back to 1932, when Swedish
chemist Arne lander[6] first observed the property in gold-cadmium alloys. The same effect was
observed in Cu-Zn (brass) in the early 1950s.[7]

3D view of austenite and martensite structures of the NiTi compound.

Nitinol's unusual properties are derived from a reversible solid-state phase transformation known as
a martensitic transformation, between two different martensite crystal phases, requiring 10,000
20,000 psi (69138 MPa) of mechanical stress.
At high temperatures, nitinol assumes an interpenetrating simple cubic structure referred to
as austenite (also known as the parent phase). At low temperatures, nitinol spontaneously
transforms to a more complicated monoclinic crystal structure known as martensite (daughter
phase).[8] There are four transition temperatures associated to the austenite-to-martensite and
martensite-to-austenite transformations. Starting from full austenite, martensite begins to form as the
alloy is cooled to the so-called martensite start temperature, or Ms, and the temperature at which the
transformation is complete is called the martensite finish temperature, or Mf. When the alloy is fully
martensite and is subjected to heating, austenite starts to form at the austenite start temperature, As,
and finishes at the austenite finish temperature, Af.[9]

Thermal hysteresis of nitinol's phase transformation

The cooling/heating cycle shows thermal hysteresis. The hysteresis width depends on the precise
nitinol composition and processing. Its typical value is a temperature range spanning about 20-50 K
(20-50 C; 36-90 F) but it can be reduced or amplified by alloying[10] and processing.[11]
Crucial to nitinol properties are two key aspects of this phase transformation. First is that the
transformation is "reversible", meaning that heating above the transformation temperature will revert
the crystal structure to the simpler austenite phase. The second key point is that the transformation
in both directions is instantaneous.
Martensite's crystal structure (known as a monoclinic, or B19' structure) has the unique ability to
undergo limited deformation in some ways without breaking atomic bonds. This type of deformation
is known as twinning, which consists of the rearrangement of atomic planes without causing slip, or
permanent deformation. It is able to undergo about 68% strain in this manner. When martensite is
reverted to austenite by heating, the original austenitic structure is restored, regardless of whether
the martensite phase was deformed. Thus the name "shape memory" refers to the fact that the
shape of the high temperature austenite phase is "remembered," even though the alloy is severely
deformed at a lower temperature.[12]

2D view of nitinol's crystalline structure during cooling/heating cycle

A great deal of pressure can be produced by preventing the reversion of deformed martensite to
austenite from 35,000 psi to, in many cases, more than 100,000 psi (689 MPa). One of the
reasons that nitinol works so hard to return to its original shape is that it is not just an ordinary metal
alloy, but what is known as an intermetallic compound. In an ordinary alloy, the constituents are
randomly positioned in the crystal lattice; in an ordered intermetallic compound, the atoms (in this
case, nickel and titanium) have very specific locations in the lattice.[13] The fact that nitinol is an
intermetallic is largely responsible for the complexity in fabricating devices made from the alloy.[why?]

The effect of nitinol composition on the Ms temperature.

The scenario described above (cooling austenite to form martensite, deforming the martensite, then
heating to revert to austenite, thus returning the original, undeformed shape) is known as the thermal
shape memory effect. To fix the original "parent shape," the alloy must be held in position and
heated to about 500 C (932 F). This process is usually called shape setting.[14] A second effect,
called superelasticity or pseudoelasticity, is also observed in nitinol. This effect is the direct result of
the fact that martensite can be formed by applying a stress as well as by cooling. Thus in a certain
temperature range, one can apply a stress to austenite, causing martensite to form while at the
same time changing shape. In this case, as soon as the stress is removed, the nitinol will
spontaneously return to its original shape. In this mode of use, nitinol behaves like a super spring,
possessing an elastic range 1030 times greater than that of a normal spring material. There are,
however, constraints: the effect is only observed about 0-40 K (0-40 C; 0-72 F) above the
Af temperature. This upper limit is referred to as Md,[15] which corresponds to the highest temperature
in which it is still possible to stress-induce the formation of martensite. Below Md, martensite
formation under load allows superelasticity due to twinning. Above Md, since martensite is no longer
formed, the only response to stress is slip of the austenitic microstructure, and thus permanent
Nitinol is typically composed of approximately 50 to 51% nickel by atomic percent (55 to 56% weight
percent).[13][16] Making small changes in the composition can change the transition temperature of the
alloy significantly. Transformation temperatures in nitinol can be controlled to some extent, where
Af temperature ranges from about 20 C to +110 C. Thus, it is common practice to refer to a nitinol
formulation as "superelastic" or "austenitic" if Af is lower than a reference temperature, while as
"shape memory" or "martensitic" if higher. The reference temperature is usually defined as the room
temperature or the human body temperature (37 C; 98 F).
One often-encountered effect regarding nitinol is the so-called R-phase. The R-phase is another
martensitic phase that competes with the martensite phase mentioned above. Because it does not
offer the large memory effects of the martensite phase, it is usually of non practical use.

Manufacturing process[edit]
Nitinol is exceedingly difficult to make, due to the exceptionally tight compositional control required,
and the tremendous reactivity of titanium. Every atom of titanium that combines with oxygen or
carbon is an atom that is robbed from the NiTi lattice, thus shifting the composition and making the
transformation temperature that much lower. There are two primary melting methods used today:
Vacuum arc remelting (VAR)
This is done by striking an electrical arc between the raw material and a water-cooled copper
strike plate. Melting is done in a high vacuum, and the mold itself is water-cooled copper.
Vacuum induction melting (VIM)
This is done by using alternating magnetic fields to heat the raw materials in a crucible
(generally carbon). This is also done in a high vacuum.
While both methods have advantages, it has been demonstrated that an industrial state-of-
the-art VIM melted material has smaller inclusions than an industrial state-of-the-art VAR
one, leading to a higher fatigue resistance.[17] Other research report that VAR employing
extreme high-purity raw materials may lead to a reduced number of inclusions and thus to
an improved fatigue behavior.[18] Other methods are also used on a boutique scale, including
plasma arc melting, induction skull melting, and e-beam melting. Physical vapour
deposition is also used on a laboratory scale.
Hot working of nitinol is relatively easy, but cold working is difficult because the enormous
elasticity of the alloy increases die or roll contact, leading to tremendous frictional resistance
and tool wear. For similar reasons, machining is extremely difficultto make things worse,
the thermal conductivity of nitinol is poor, so heat is difficult to be removed. Grinding
(abrasive cutting), Electrical discharge machining (EDM) and laser cutting are all relatively
Heat treating nitinol is delicate and critical. It is the knowledge intensive process to fine-tune
the transformation temperatures. Aging time and temperature controls the precipitation of
various Ni-rich phases, and thus controls how much nickel resides in the NiTi lattice; by
depleting the matrix of nickel, aging increases the transformation temperature. The
combination of heat treatment and cold working is essential in controlling the properties of
nitinol products.[19]

Fatigue failures of nitinol devices are a constant subject of discussion. Because it is the
material of choice for applications requiring enormous flexibility and motion (e.g., peripheral
stents, heart valves, smart thermomechanical actuators and electromechanical
microactuators), it is necessarily exposed to much greater fatigue strains compared to other
metals. While the strain-controlled fatigue performance of nitinol is superior to all other
known metals, fatigue failures have been observed in the most demanding applications.
There is a great deal of effort underway trying to better understand and define the durability
limits of nitinol.
Nitinol is half nickel, and thus there has been a great deal of concern in the medical industry
regarding the release of nickel, a known allergen and possible carcinogen.[19] (Nickel is also
present in substantial amounts in stainless steel and cobalt-chrome alloys.) When properly
treated (via electropolishing and/or passivation), nitinol forms a very stable protective
TiO2 layer that acts as a very effective and self-healing barrier against ion exchange. It has
been repeatedly shown that nitinol releases nickel at a slower pace than stainless steel, for
example. With that said, very early medical devices were made without electropolishing, and
corrosion was observed. Today's nitinol vascular self-expandable metallic stents, for
example, show no evidence of corrosion or nickel release, and the outcomes in patients with
and without nickel allergies are indistinguishable.
There are constant and long-running discussions regarding inclusions in nitinol, both TiC
and Ti2NiOx. As in all other metals and alloys, inclusions can be found in Nitinol. The size,
distribution and type of inclusions can be controlled to some extent. Theoretically, smaller,
rounder and few inclusions should lead to increased fatigue durability. In literature, some
early works report to have failed to show measurable differences,[20][21] while novel studies
demonstrate a dependence of fatigue resistance on the typical inclusion size in an
Nitinol is difficult to weld, both to itself and other materials. Laser welding nitinol to itself is a
relatively routine process. More recently, strong joints between NiTi wires and stainless steel
wires have been made using nickel filler.[25] Laser[26] and Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG)[27] welds
have been made between NiTi tubes and stainless steel tubes . More research is ongoing
into other processes and other metals to which nitinol can be welded.
Actuation frequency of nitinol is dependent on the heat management, especially during the
cooling phase. Numerous methods are used to increase the cooling performance, such as
forced air,[28] flowing liquids,[29] thermoelectric modules (i.e. Peltier or semiconductor heat
pumps),[30] heat sinks,[31] conductive materials[32] and higher surface-to-volume
ratio[33](improvements up to 3.3 Hz with very thin wires[34] and up to 100 Hz with thinfilm
nitinol[35]). The fastest nitinol actuation recorded was carried by a high voltage capacitor
discharge which heated an SMA wire in a manner of microseconds, and resulted in a
complete phase transformation (and high velocities) in a few milliseconds.[36]
Recent advances have shown that processing of nitinol can expand thermomechanical
capabilities, allowing for multiple shape memories to be embedded within a monolithic
structure.[37][38] Research on multi-memory technology is on-going and promises to deliver
enhanced shape memory devices in the near future[39] ,[40] and the application of new
materials and material structures, such hybrid shape memory materials (SMMs) and shape
memory composites (SMCs).[41]
There are four commonly used types of applications for nitinol:
Free recovery
Nitinol is deformed at a low temperature, and heated to recover its original shape through the
Shape Memory effect.
Constrained recovery
As for free recovery, except that recovery is rigidly prevented and thus a stress is generated.
Work production
Here the alloy is allowed to recover, but to do so it must act against a force (thus doing
Nitinol acts as a super spring through the Superelastic effect.
In 1989 a survey was conducted in the United States and Canada that
involved seven organizations. The survey focused on predicting the future
technology, market, and applications of SMAs. The companies predicted
the following uses of nitinol in a decreasing order of importance: (1)
Couplings, (2) Biomedical and medical, (3) Toys, demonstration, novelty
items, (4) Actuators, (5) Heat Engines, (6) Sensors, (7) Cryogenically
activated die and bubble memory sockets, and finally (8) lifting devices.[42]
Today, nitinol finds application in the listed industrial applications:

Thermal and electrical actuators[edit]

Nitinol can be used to replace conventional actuators (solenoids, servo

motors, etc.), such as in the Stiquito, a simple hexapod robot.
Nitinol springs are used in thermal valves for fluidics, where the
material both acts as a temperature sensor and an actuator.
It is used as autofocus actuator in action cameras and as an Optical
Image Stabilizer in mobile phones.[43]
It is used in pneumatic valves form comfort seating and has become an
industry standard.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette incorporates nitinol actuators, which
replaced heavier motorized actuators to open and close the hatch vent
that releases air from the trunk, making it easier to close.
Biocompatible and biomedical applications[edit]
Main article: Nitinol biocompatibility

Nitinol is highly biocompatible and has properties suitable for use in

orthopedic implants. Due to Nitinol's unique properties it has seen a
large demand for use in less invasive medical devices. Nitinol tubing is
commonly used in catheters, stents, and superelastic needles.
In colorectal surgery [1], the material is used in devices for
reconnecting the intestine after removing the pathology.
Nitinol is used for devices developed by Franz Freudenthal to
treat Patent ductus arteriosus, blocking a blood vessel that bypasses
the lungs and has failed to close after birth in an infant.[44]
In dentistry, the material is used in orthodontics for brackets and wires
connecting the teeth. Once the SMA wire is placed in the mouth its
temperature rises to ambient body temperature. This causes the nitinol
to contract back to its original shape, applying a constant force to move
the teeth. These SMA wires do not need to be retightened as often as
other wires because they can contract as the teeth move unlike
conventional stainless steel wires. Additionally, nitinol can be used
in endodontics, where nitinol files are used to clean and shape the root
canals during the root canal procedure. Because of the high fatigue
tolerance and flexibility of nitinol, it greatly decreases the possibility of
an endodontic file breaking inside the tooth during root canal treatment,
thus improving safety for the patient.
Another significant application of nitinol in medicine is in stents: a
collapsed stent can be inserted into an artery or vein, where body
temperature warms the stent and the stent returns to its original
expanded shape following removal of a constraining sheath; the stent
then helps support the artery or vein to improve blood flow. It is also
used as a replacement for sutures - nitinol wire can be weaved through
two structures then allowed to transform into its preformed shape,
which should hold the structures in place.
Similarly, collapsible structures composed of braided, microscopically-
thin nitinol filaments can be used in neurovascular interventions such
as stroke thrombolysis, embolization, and intracranial angioplasty.[45]
A more recent application of nitinol wire is in female contraception,
specifically in intrauterine devices.
Damping systems in structural engineering[edit]

Superelastic Nitinol finds a variety of applications in civil structures such

as bridges and buildings. One such application is Intelligent Reinforced
Concrete (IRC), which incorporates Ni-Ti wires embedded within the
concrete. These wires can sense cracks and contract to heal macro-
sized cracks.[46]
Another application is active tuning of structural natural frequency using
Nitinol wires to dampen vibrations.
Other applications and prototypes[edit]

Demonstration model heat engines have been built which use nitinol
wire to produce mechanical energy from hot and cold heat sources.[47] A
prototype commercial engine developed in the 1970s by engineer
Ridgway Banks at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was named
the Banks Engine.[48][49][50][51][52]
Nitinol is also popular in extremely resilient glasses frames.[53] It is also
used in some mechanical watch springs.
Boeing engineers successfully flight-tested SMA-actuated morphing
chevrons on the Boeing 777-300ER Quiet Technology Demonstrator
It can be used as a temperature control system; as it changes shape, it
can activate a switch or a variable resistor to control the temperature.
It is used in cell-phone technology as a retractable antenna, or
microphone boom, due to its highly flexible and mechanical memory
It is used in some novelty products, such as self-bending spoons which
can be used by amateur and stage magicians to demonstrate "psychic"
powers or as a practical joke, as the spoon will bend itself when used to
stir tea, coffee, or any other warm liquid.
It can also be used as wires which are used to locate and mark breast
tumours so that the following surgery can be more exact.
Due to the high damping capacity of Superelastic nitinol, it is also used
as a golf club insert.[55]
Nickel titanium can be used to make the underwires for underwire
It is used in some actuation-bending devices, such as those developed
by Finnish technology company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beryllium, 4Be

General properties

Pronunciation /brlim/


Appearance white-gray metallic

Standard atomic weight (Ar) 9.0121831(5)[1]

Beryllium in the periodic table

H He
yd liu
ro m
Li Be Bo Ca Nit Ox Fl Ne
thi ryl ro rb ro yge uo on
u liu n on ge n rin
m m n e
So M Al Sil Ph Sul Ch Ar
di ag u ico os fur lor go
u ne mi n ph in n
m siu ni or e
m u us
Po Ca Sc Tit V Ch M Iro Co Nic Co Zin Ga Ge Ar Sel Br Kr
tas lci an ani an ro an n bal kel ppe c lli rm se eni o yp
si u di um ad mi ga t r u ani nic um mi to
u m u iu um ne m um ne n
m m m se
R Str Yt Zir Ni Mo Te Ru Rh Pal Sil Ca In Ti An Tel Io Xe
ub on tri con ob lyb ch th od ladi ver dm di n ti luri di no M
idi tiu u ium iu den net en iu um iu u mo um ne n g
u m m m um iu iu m m m ny
m m m
Ca Ba La C Pra Ne Pr Sa Eu Ga Te Dy Ho Er Th Yt Lu Haf Ta Tu Rh Os Iri Pla Go Me Th Le Bi Pol As Ra
esi riu nt er seo od om m ro dol rbi spr lm bi uli ter teti niu nt ngs eni mi di tin ld rcu all ad sm oni tat do
u m ha iu dy ym eth ari pi ini u osi iu u um bi um m al ten um u u um ry iu uth um in n
m nu m miu iu iu u u um m um m m u u m m (el m e
m m m m m m m m em
Fr Ra Ac T Pro Ur Ne Pl A Cu Be Ca Ei F Me N La Rut D Sea Bo Ha M Dar Ro Co Ni Fle M Liv Te O
an di tin h tact ani ptu ut me riu rk lif nst er nde ob wr her ub bor hri ssi eit mst ent per ho ro os er nn ga
ci u iu or iniu um niu on ric m eli or ein m levi eli en for ni giu um u ner adti gen nic ni viu co mo es ne
u m m iu m m iu iu u niu iu iu um u ciu diu u m m iu um iu iu u m viu riu sin ss
m m m m m m m m m m m m m m m m m m e on
lithium beryllium boron

Atomic number (Z) 4

Group, period group 2 (alkaline earth metals), period 2

Block s-block

Element category alkaline earth metal

Electron configuration [He] 2s2

Electrons per shell 2, 2

Physical properties

Phase (at STP) solid

Melting point 1560 K (1287 C, 2349 F)

Boiling point 2742 K (2469 C, 4476 F)

Density (near r.t.) 1.85 g/cm3

when liquid (at m.p.) 1.690 g/cm3

Critical point 5205 K, MPa (extrapolated)

Heat of fusion 12.2 kJ/mol

Heat of vaporization 292 kJ/mol

Molar heat capacity 16.443 J/(molK)

Vapor pressure

P (Pa) 1 10 100 1k 10 k 100 k

at T (K) 1462 1608 1791 2023 2327 2742

Atomic properties

Oxidation states +2, +1[2] (an amphoteric oxide)

Electronegativity Pauling scale: 1.57

1st: 899.5 kJ/mol

Ionization energies
2nd: 1757.1 kJ/mol
3rd: 14,848.7 kJ/mol

Atomic radius empirical: 112 pm

Covalent radius 963 pm

Van der Waals radius 153 pm

Spectral lines


Crystal structure hexagonal close-packed (hcp)

Speed of soundthin rod 12,890 m/s (at r.t.)[3]

Thermal expansion 11.3 m/(mK) (at 25 C)

Thermal conductivity 200 W/(mK)

Electrical resistivity 36 nm (at 20 C)

Magnetic ordering diamagnetic

Magnetic susceptibility 9.0106 cm3/mol[4]

Young's modulus 287 GPa

Shear modulus 132 GPa

Bulk modulus 130 GPa

Poisson ratio 0.032

Mohs hardness 5.5

Vickers hardness 1670 MPa

Brinell hardness 5901320 MPa

CAS Number 7440-41-7

Discovery Louis Nicolas Vauquelin (1798)

First isolation Friedrich Whler & Antoine Bussy (1828)

Main isotopes of beryllium

Iso- Abun- Half- Decay Pro-

tope dance life(t1/2) mode duct
Be trace 53.12 d

Be 100% stable
Be trace 1.39106 y 10 B




| references | in Wikidata

Beryllium is a chemical element with symbol Be and atomic number 4. It is a relatively rare element
in the universe, usually occurring as a product of the spallation of larger atomic nuclei that have
collided with cosmic rays. Within the cores of stars beryllium is depleted as it is fused and creates
larger elements. It is a divalent element which occurs naturally only in combination with other
elements in minerals. Notable gemstones which contain beryllium
include beryl (aquamarine, emerald) and chrysoberyl. As a free element it is a steel-gray, strong,
lightweight and brittle alkaline earth metal.
Beryllium improves many physical properties when added as an alloying element
to aluminium, copper (notably the alloy beryllium copper), iron and nickel.[5] Beryllium does not form
oxides until it reaches very high temperatures. Tools made of beryllium copperalloys are strong and
hard and do not create sparks when they strike a steel surface. In structural applications, the
combination of high flexural rigidity, thermal stability, thermal conductivity and low density (1.85
times that of water) make beryllium metal a desirable aerospace material for aircraft
components, missiles, spacecraft, and satellites.[5] Because of its low density and atomic mass,
beryllium is relatively transparent to X-rays and other forms of ionizing radiation; therefore, it is the
most common window material for X-ray equipment and components of particle detectors.[5] The high
thermal conductivities of beryllium and beryllium oxide have led to their use in thermal management
The commercial use of beryllium requires the use of appropriate dust control equipment and
industrial controls at all times because of the toxicity of inhaled beryllium-containing dusts that can
cause a chronic life-threatening allergic disease in some people called berylliosis.[6]


o 1.1Physical properties
o 1.2Nuclear properties
o 1.3Isotopes and nucleosynthesis
o 1.4Occurrence
3Chemical properties
o 4.1Etymology
o 5.1Radiation windows
o 5.2Mechanical applications
o 5.3Mirrors
o 5.4Magnetic applications
o 5.5Nuclear applications
o 5.6Acoustics
o 5.7Electronic
o 5.8Healthcare
6Occupational safety and health
8See also
11Further reading
12External links

Physical properties[edit]
Beryllium is a steel gray and hard metal that is brittle at room temperature and has a close-packed
hexagonal crystal structure.[5]It has exceptional stiffness (Young's modulus 287 GPa) and a
reasonably high melting point. The modulus of elasticity of beryllium is approximately 50% greater
than that of steel. The combination of this modulus and a relatively low density results in an
unusually fast sound conduction speed in beryllium about 12.9 km/s at ambient conditions. Other
significant properties are high specific heat (1925 Jkg1K1) and thermal conductivity (216
Wm1K1), which make beryllium the metal with the best heat dissipation characteristics per unit
weight. In combination with the relatively low coefficient of linear thermal expansion (11.4106K1),
these characteristics result in a unique stability under conditions of thermal loading.[7]
Nuclear properties[edit]
Naturally occurring beryllium, save for slight contamination by the cosmogenic radioisotopes, is
isotopically pure beryllium-9, which has a nuclear spin of 3/2. Beryllium has a large scattering cross
section for high-energy neutrons, about 6 barns for energies above approximately 10 keV.
Therefore, it works as a neutron reflector and neutron moderator, effectively slowing the neutrons to
the thermal energy range of below 0.03 eV, where the total cross section is at least an order of
magnitude lower exact value strongly depends on the purity and size of the crystallites in the
The single primordial beryllium isotope 9Be also undergoes a (n,2n) neutron reaction with neutron
energies over about 1.9 MeV, to produce 8Be, which almost immediately breaks into two alpha
particles. Thus, for high-energy neutrons, beryllium is a neutron multiplier, releasing more neutrons
than it absorbs. This nuclear reaction is:[8]
+ n 2(4
) + 2n
Neutrons are liberated when beryllium nuclei are struck by energetic alpha particles[7] producing
the nuclear reaction
+ n, where 4
is an alpha particle and 12
is a carbon-12 nucleus.[8]
Beryllium also releases neutrons under bombardment by gamma rays. Thus, natural
beryllium bombarded either by alphas or gammas from a suitable radioisotope is a key
component of most radioisotope-powered nuclear reaction neutron sources for the
laboratory production of free neutrons.
Small amounts of tritium are liberated when 9
nuclei absorb low energy neutrons in the three-step nuclear reaction
, 6
+ , 6

Note that 6
has a half-life of only 0.8 seconds, is an electron, and 6
has a high neutron absorption cross-section. Tritium is a radioisotope of concern in
nuclear reactor waste streams.[9]
As a metal, beryllium is transparent to most wavelengths of X-rays and gamma rays,
making it useful for the output windows of X-ray tubes and other such apparatus.
Isotopes and nucleosynthesis[edit]
Main articles: Isotopes of beryllium and beryllium-10
Both stable and unstable isotopes of beryllium are created in stars, but the radioisotopes
do not last long. It is believed that most of the stable beryllium in the universe was
originally created in the interstellar medium when cosmic rays induced fission in heavier
elements found in interstellar gas and dust.[10] Primordial beryllium contains only one
stable isotope, 9Be, and therefore beryllium is a monoisotopic element.

Plot showing variations in solar activity, including variation in sunspot number (red) and 10Be
concentration (blue). Note that the beryllium scale is inverted, so increases on this scale indicate
lower 10Be levels

Radioactive cosmogenic 10Be is produced in the atmosphere of the Earth by the cosmic
ray spallation of oxygen.[11] 10Be accumulates at the soil surface, where its relatively
long half-life (1.36 million years) permits a long residence time before decaying
to boron-10. Thus, 10Be and its daughter products are used to examine natural soil
erosion, soil formation and the development of lateritic soils, and as a proxy for
measurement of the variations in solar activity and the age of ice cores.[12] The
production of 10Be is inversely proportional to solar activity, because increased solar
wind during periods of high solar activity decreases the flux of galactic cosmic rays that
reach the Earth.[11] Nuclear explosions also form 10Be by the reaction of fast neutrons
with 13C in the carbon dioxide in air. This is one of the indicators of past activity
at nuclear weapon test sites.[13] The isotope 7Be (half-life 53 days) is also cosmogenic,
and shows an atmospheric abundance linked to sunspots, much like 10Be.
Be has a very short half-life of about 71017 s that contributes to its significant
cosmological role, as elements heavier than beryllium could not have been produced by
nuclear fusion in the Big Bang.[14] This is due to the lack of sufficient time during the Big
Bang's nucleosynthesis phase to produce carbon by the fusion of 4He nuclei and the
very low concentrations of available beryllium-8. The British astronomer Sir Fred
Hoyle first showed that the energy levels of 8Be and 12C allow carbon production by the
so-called triple-alpha process in helium-fueled stars where more nucleosynthesis time is
available. This process allows carbon to be produced in stars, but not in the Big Bang.
Star-created carbon (the basis of carbon-based life) is thus a component in the
elements in the gas and dust ejected by AGB stars and supernovae (see also Big Bang
nucleosynthesis), as well as the creation of all other elements with atomic
numbers larger than that of carbon.[15]
The 2s electrons of beryllium may contribute to chemical bonding. Therefore, when 7Be
decays by L-electron capture, it does so by taking electrons from its atomic orbitals that
may be participating in bonding. This makes its decay rate dependent to a measurable
degree upon its chemical surroundings a rare occurrence in nuclear decay.[16]
The shortest-lived known isotope of beryllium is 13Be which decays through neutron
emission. It has a half-life of 2.7 1021 s. 6Be is also very short-lived with a half-life of
5.0 1021 s.[17] The exotic isotopes 11Be and 14Be are known to exhibit a nuclear
halo.[18] This phenomenon can be understood as the nuclei of 11Be and 14Be have,
respectively, 1 and 4 neutrons orbiting substantially outside the classical Fermi
'waterdrop' model of the nucleus.

Beryllium ore with 1US coin for scale

Emerald is a naturally occurring compound of beryllium.

The Sun has a concentration of 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) of beryllium.[19] Beryllium has a
concentration of 2 to 6 parts per million (ppm) in the Earth's crust.[20] It is most
concentrated in the soils, 6 ppm.[21] Trace amounts of 9Be are found in the Earth's
atmosphere.[21] The concentration of beryllium in sea water is 0.20.6 parts per
trillion.[21][22]In stream water, however, beryllium is more abundant with a concentration of
0.1 ppb.[23]
Beryllium is found in over 100 minerals,[24] but most are uncommon to rare. The more
common beryllium containing minerals
include: bertrandite (Be4Si2O7(OH)2), beryl (Al2Be3Si6O18), chrysoberyl (Al2BeO4)
and phenakite(Be2SiO4). Precious forms of beryl are aquamarine, red
beryl and emerald.[7][25][26] The green color in gem-quality forms of beryl comes from
varying amounts of chromium (about 2% for emerald).[27]
The two main ores of beryllium, beryl and bertrandite, are found in Argentina, Brazil,
India, Madagascar, Russia and the United States.[27] Total world reserves of beryllium
ore are greater than 400,000 tonnes.[27]

The extraction of beryllium from its compounds is a difficult process due to its high
affinity for oxygen at elevated temperatures, and its ability to reduce water when its
oxide film is removed. The United States, China and Kazakhstan are the only three
countries involved in the industrial-scale extraction of beryllium.[28] Beryllium production
technology is in early stages of development in Russia after a 20-year hiatus.[29]
Beryllium is most commonly extracted from the mineral beryl, which is
either sintered using an extraction agent or melted into a soluble mixture. The sintering
process involves mixing beryl with sodium fluorosilicate and soda at 770 C (1,420 F)
to form sodium fluoroberyllate, aluminium oxide and silicon dioxide.[5] Beryllium
hydroxide is precipitated from a solution of sodium fluoroberyllate and sodium
hydroxide in water. Extraction of beryllium using the melt method involves grinding beryl
into a powder and heating it to 1,650 C (3,000 F).[5] The melt is quickly cooled with
water and then reheated 250 to 300 C (482 to 572 F) in concentrated sulfuric acid,
mostly yielding beryllium sulfate and aluminium sulfate.[5] Aqueous ammonia is then
used to remove the aluminium and sulfur, leaving beryllium hydroxide.
Beryllium hydroxide created using either the sinter or melt method is then converted
into beryllium fluoride or beryllium chloride. To form the fluoride, aqueous ammonium
hydrogen fluoride is added to beryllium hydroxide to yield a precipitate of ammonium
tetrafluoroberyllate, which is heated to 1,000 C (1,830 F) to form beryllium
fluoride.[5] Heating the fluoride to 900 C (1,650 F) with magnesium forms finely divided
beryllium, and additional heating to 1,300 C (2,370 F) creates the compact
metal.[5] Heating beryllium hydroxide forms the oxide, which becomes beryllium chloride
when combined with carbon and chlorine. Electrolysis of molten beryllium chloride is
then used to obtain the metal.[5]

Chemical properties[edit]
See also: Category:Beryllium compounds.
Beryllium's chemical behavior is largely a result of its small atomic and ionic radii. It thus
has very high ionization potentials and strong polarization while bonded to other atoms,
which is why all of its compounds are covalent.[5] It is more chemically similar to
aluminium than its close neighbors in the periodic table due to having a similar charge-
to-radius ratio.[5] An oxide layer forms around beryllium that prevents further reactions
with air unless heated above 1000 C.[5][30] Once ignited, beryllium burns brilliantly
forming a mixture of beryllium oxide and beryllium nitride.[30] Beryllium dissolves readily
in non-oxidizing acids, such as HCl and diluted H2SO4, but not in nitric acid or water as
this forms the oxide.[5]This behavior is similar to that of aluminium metal. Beryllium also
dissolves in alkali solutions.[5]
Beryllium hydrolysis as a function of pH
Water molecules attached to Be are omitted

The beryllium atom has the electronic configuration [He] 2s2. The two valence electrons
give beryllium a +2 oxidation state and thus the ability to form two covalent bonds; the
only evidence of lower valence of beryllium is in the solubility of the metal
in BeCl2.[31] Due to the octet rule, atoms tend to seek a valence of 8 in order to resemble
a noble gas. Beryllium tries to achieve a coordination number of 4 because its two
covalent bonds fill half of this octet.[5] Tetracoordination allows beryllium compounds,
such as the fluoride or chloride, to form polymers.
This characteristic is employed in analytical techniques using EDTA as a ligand. EDTA
preferentially forms octahedral complexes thus absorbing other cations such as
Al3+ which might interfere for example, in the solvent extraction of a complex formed
between Be2+ and acetylacetone.[32] Beryllium(II) readily forms complexes with strong
donating ligands such as phosphine oxides and arsine oxides. There have been
extensive studies of these complexes which show the stability of the O-Be bond.[citation

Solutions of beryllium salts, e.g. beryllium sulfate and beryllium nitrate, are acidic
because of hydrolysis of the [Be(H2O)4]2+ ion.
[Be(H2O)4]2+ + H2O [Be(H2O)3(OH)]+ + H3O+
Other products of hydrolysis include the trimeric ion [Be3(OH)3(H2O)6]3+. Beryllium
hydroxide, Be(OH)2, is insoluble even in acidic solutions with pH less than 6, that is
at biological pH. It is amphoteric and dissolves in strongly alkaline solutions.
Beryllium forms binary compounds with many non-metals. Anhydrous halides are
known for F, Cl, Br and I. BeF2 has a silica-like structure with corner-shared
BeF4 tetrahedra. BeCl2 and BeBr2 have chain structures with edge-shared
tetrahedra. All beryllium halides have a linear monomeric molecular structure in the
gas phase.[30]
Beryllium difluoride, BeF2, is different than the other difluorides. In general, beryllium
has a tendency to bond covalently, much more so than the other alkaline earths and
its fluoride is partially covalent (although still more ionic than its other halides).
BeF2 has many similarities to SiO2 (quartz) a mostly covalently bonded network
solid. BeF2 has tetrahedrally coordinated metal and forms glasses (is difficult to
crystallize). When crystalline, beryllium fluoride has the same room temperature
crystal structure as quartz and shares many higher temperature structures also.
Beryllium difluoride is very soluble in water,[33] unlike the other alkaline earth
difluorides. (Although they are strongly ionic, they do not dissolve because of the
especially strong lattice energy of the fluorite structure.) However, BeF2 has much
lower electrical conductivity when in solution or when molten than would be
expected if it were fully ionic.[34][35][36][37]

Order and disorder in difluorides

The strong and stable ionic fluorite Disordered structure of beryllium glass
structure adopted by calcium (sketch, two dimensions)
difluoride and many other difluorides

Beryllium oxide, BeO, is a white refractory solid, which has the wurtzite crystal
structure and a thermal conductivity as high as in some metals. BeO is amphoteric.
Salts of beryllium can be produced by treating Be(OH)2 with
acid.[30] Beryllium sulfide, selenide and telluride are known, all having the zincblende
Beryllium nitride, Be3N2 is a high-melting-point compound which is readily
hydrolyzed. Beryllium azide, BeN6 is known and beryllium phosphide, Be3P2 has a
similar structure to Be3N2. Basic beryllium nitrate and basic beryllium acetate have
similar tetrahedral structures with four beryllium atoms coordinated to a central
oxide ion.[31] A number of beryllium borides are known, such as Be5B, Be4B, Be2B,
BeB2, BeB6 and BeB12. Beryllium carbide, Be2C, is a refractory brick-red compound
that reacts with water to give methane.[31] No beryllium silicide has been identified.[30]

The mineral beryl, which contains beryllium, has been used at least since
the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt.[38] In the first century CE, Roman naturalist Pliny the
Elder mentioned in his encyclopedia Natural History that beryl
and emerald ("smaragdus") were similar.[39] The Papyrus Graecus Holmiensis,
written in the third or fourth century CE, contains notes on how to prepare artificial
emerald and beryl.[39]
Louis-Nicolas Vauquelindiscovered beryllium

Early analyses of emeralds and beryls by Martin Heinrich Klaproth, Torbern Olof
Bergman, Franz Karl Achard, and Johann Jakob Bindheim always yielded similar
elements, leading to the fallacious conclusion that both substances are aluminium
silicates.[40] Mineralogist Ren Just Haydiscovered that both crystals are
geometrically identical, and he asked chemist Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin for a
chemical analysis.[38]
In a 1798 paper read before the Institut de France, Vauquelin reported that he found
a new "earth" by dissolving aluminium hydroxide from emerald and beryl in an
additional alkali.[41] The editors of the journal Annales de Chimie et de
Physique named the new earth "glucine" for the sweet taste of some of its
compounds.[42] Klaproth preferred the name "beryllina" due to the fact that yttria also
formed sweet salts.[43][44] The name "beryllium" was first used by Whler in 1828.[45]

Friedrich Whler was one of the men who independently isolated beryllium

Friedrich Whler[46] and Antoine Bussy[47] independently isolated beryllium in 1828 by

the chemical reaction of metallic potassium with beryllium chloride, as follows:
BeCl2 + 2 K 2 KCl + Be
Using an alcohol lamp, Whler heated alternating layers of beryllium chloride
and potassium in a wired-shut platinum crucible. The above reaction
immediately took place and caused the crucible to become white hot. Upon
cooling and washing the resulting gray-black powder he saw that it was made of
fine particles with a dark metallic luster.[48] The highly reactive potassium had
been produced by the electrolysisof its compounds, a process discovered 21
years before. The chemical method using potassium yielded only small grains
of beryllium from which no ingot of metal could be cast or hammered.
The direct electrolysis of a molten mixture of beryllium fluoride and sodium
fluoride by Paul Lebeau in 1898 resulted in the first pure (99.5 to 99.8%)
samples of beryllium.[48] The first commercially successful process for producing
beryllium was developed in 1932 by Alfred Stock and Hans
Goldschmidt.[48] Their process involves the electrolysis of a mixture of beryllium
fluorides and barium, which causes molten beryllium to collect on a water-
cooled iron cathode.
A sample of beryllium was bombarded with alpha rays from the decay
of radium in a 1932 experiment by James Chadwick that uncovered the
existence of the neutron.[27] This same method is used in one class of
radioisotope-based laboratory neutron sources that produce 30 neutrons for
every million particles.[20]
Beryllium production saw a rapid increase during World War II, due to the rising
demand for hard beryllium-copper alloys and phosphors for fluorescent lights.
Most early fluorescent lamps used zinc orthosilicate with varying content of
beryllium to emit greenish light. Small additions of
magnesium tungstate improved the blue part of the spectrum to yield an
acceptable white light. Halophosphate-based phosphors replaced beryllium-
based phosphors after beryllium was found to be toxic.[49]
Electrolysis of a mixture of beryllium fluoride and sodium fluoride was used to
isolate beryllium during the 19th century. The metal's high melting point makes
this process more energy-consuming than corresponding processes used for
the alkali metals. Early in the 20th century, the production of beryllium by the
thermal decomposition of beryllium iodidewas investigated following the
success of a similar process for the production of zirconium, but this process
proved to be uneconomical for volume production.[50]
Pure beryllium metal did not become readily available until 1957, even though it
had been used as an alloying metal to harden and toughen copper much
earlier.[27] Beryllium could be produced by reducing beryllium compounds such
as beryllium chloride with metallic potassium or sodium. Currently most
beryllium is produced by reducing beryllium fluoride with purified magnesium.
The price on the American market for vacuum-cast beryllium ingots was about
$338 per pound ($745 per kilogram) in 2001.[51]
Between 1998 and 2008, the world's production of beryllium had decreased
from 343 to about 200 tonnes, of which 176 tonnes (88%) came from the United
Early precursors of the word beryllium can be traced to many languages,
including Latin Beryllus;
French Bry; Greek , brullos, beryl; Prakrit veruliya (
); Pli veuriya(), veiru () or viar () "to become
pale", in reference to the pale semiprecious gemstone beryl. The original source
is probably the Sanskrit word (vaidurya), which is of South
Indian origin and could be related to the name of the modern city of Belur.[54] For
about 160 years, beryllium was also known as glucinum or glucinium (with the
accompanying chemical symbol "Gl",[55] or "G" [56]), the name coming from
the Greek word for sweet: , due to the sweet taste of beryllium salts.[57]
Radiation windows[edit]

Beryllium target which "converts" a proton beam into a neutron beam

A square beryllium foil mounted in a steel case to be used as a window between a

vacuum chamber and an X-ray microscope. Beryllium is highly transparent to X-rays
owing to its low atomic number.

Because of its low atomic number and very low absorption for X-rays, the oldest
and still one of the most important applications of beryllium is in radiation
windows for X-ray tubes.[27] Extreme demands are placed on purity and
cleanliness of beryllium to avoid artifacts in the X-ray images. Thin beryllium
foils are used as radiation windows for X-ray detectors, and the extremely low
absorption minimizes the heating effects caused by high intensity, low energy
X-rays typical of synchrotron radiation. Vacuum-tight windows and beam-tubes
for radiation experiments on synchrotrons are manufactured exclusively from
beryllium. In scientific setups for various X-ray emission studies (e.g., energy-
dispersive X-ray spectroscopy) the sample holder is usually made of beryllium
because its emitted X-rays have much lower energies (~100 eV) than X-rays
from most studied materials.[7]
Low atomic number also makes beryllium relatively transparent to
energetic particles. Therefore, it is used to build the beam pipe around the
collision region in particle physics setups, such as all four main detector
experiments at the Large Hadron
Collider (ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, LHCb),[58] the Tevatron and the SLAC. The low
density of beryllium allows collision products to reach the surrounding detectors
without significant interaction, its stiffness allows a powerful vacuum to be
produced within the pipe to minimize interaction with gases, its thermal stability
allows it to function correctly at temperatures of only a few degrees
above absolute zero, and its diamagnetic nature keeps it from interfering with
the complex multipole magnet systems used to steer and focus the particle
Mechanical applications[edit]
Because of its stiffness, light weight and dimensional stability over a wide
temperature range, beryllium metal is used for lightweight structural
components in the defense and aerospace industries in high-
speed aircraft, guided missiles, spacecraft, and satellites. Several liquid-fuel
rockets have used rocket nozzles made of pure beryllium.[60][61] Beryllium powder
was itself studied as a rocket fuel, but this use has never materialized.[27] A small
number of extreme high-end bicycle frames have been built with
beryllium.[62] From 1998 to 2000, the McLaren Formula One team
used Mercedes-Benz engines with beryllium-aluminium-alloy pistons.[63] The use
of beryllium engine components was banned following a protest by Scuderia
Mixing about 2.0% beryllium into copper forms an alloy called beryllium
copper that is six times stronger than copper alone.[65] Beryllium alloys are used
in many applications because of their combination of elasticity, high electrical
conductivity and thermal conductivity, high strength and hardness, nonmagnetic
properties, as well as good corrosion and fatigue resistance.[27][5] These
applications include non-sparking tools that are used near flammable gases
(beryllium nickel), in springs and membranes (beryllium nickel and beryllium
iron) used in surgical instruments and high temperature devices.[27][5] As little as
50 parts per million of beryllium alloyed with liquid magnesium leads to a
significant increase in oxidation resistance and decrease in flammability.[5]

Beryllium Copper Adjustable Wrench

The high elastic stiffness of beryllium has led to its extensive use in precision
instrumentation, e.g. in inertial guidance systems and in the support
mechanisms for optical systems.[7] Beryllium-copper alloys were also applied as
a hardening agent in "Jason pistols", which were used to strip the paint from the
hulls of ships.[66]
Beryllium was also used for cantilevers in high performance phonograph
cartridge styli, where its extreme stiffness and low density allowed for tracking
weights to be reduced to 1 gram, yet still track high frequency passages with
minimal distortion.[67]
An earlier major application of beryllium was in brakes for
military airplanes because of its hardness, high melting point, and exceptional
ability to dissipate heat. Environmental considerations have led to substitution
by other materials.[7]
To reduce costs, beryllium can be alloyed with significant amounts
of aluminium, resulting in the AlBeMet alloy (a trade name). This blend is
cheaper than pure beryllium, while still retaining many desirable properties.
Beryllium mirrors are of particular interest. Large-area mirrors, frequently with
a honeycomb support structure, are used, for example, in meteorological
satellites where low weight and long-term dimensional stability are critical.
Smaller beryllium mirrors are used in optical guidance systems and in fire-
control systems, e.g. in the German-made Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 main battle
tanks. In these systems, very rapid movement of the mirror is required which
again dictates low mass and high rigidity. Usually the beryllium mirror is coated
with hard electroless nickel plating which can be more easily polished to a finer
optical finish than beryllium. In some applications, though, the beryllium blank is
polished without any coating. This is particularly applicable
to cryogenic operation where thermal expansion mismatch can cause the
coating to buckle.[7]
The James Webb Space Telescope[68] will have 18 hexagonal beryllium sections
for its mirrors. Because JWST will face a temperature of 33 K, the mirror is
made of gold-plated beryllium, capable of handling extreme cold better than
glass. Beryllium contracts and deforms less than glass and remains more
uniform in such temperatures.[69] For the same reason, the optics of
the Spitzer Space Telescope are entirely built of beryllium metal.[70]
Magnetic applications[edit]

Sphere Beryllium B52 - Gyrocompass

Beryllium is non-magnetic. Therefore, tools fabricated out of beryllium-based

materials are used by naval or military explosive ordnance disposal teams for
work on or near naval mines, since these mines commonly have magnetic
fuzes.[71] They are also found in maintenance and construction materials
near magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines because of the high
magnetic fields generated.[72] In the fields of radio communications and powerful
(usually military) radars, hand tools made of beryllium are used to tune the
highly magnetic klystrons, magnetrons, traveling wave tubes, etc., that are used
for generating high levels of microwave power in the transmitters.[73]
Nuclear applications[edit]
Thin plates or foils of beryllium are sometimes used in nuclear weapon
designs as the very outer layer of the plutonium pits in the primary stages
of thermonuclear bombs, placed to surround the fissile material. These layers of
beryllium are good "pushers" for the implosion of the plutonium-239, and they
are good neutron reflectors, just as in beryllium-moderated nuclear reactors.[74]
Beryllium is also commonly used in some neutron sources in laboratory devices
in which relatively few neutrons are needed (rather than having to use a nuclear
reactor, or a particle accelerator-powered neutron generator). For this purpose,
a target of beryllium-9 is bombarded with energetic alpha particles from
a radioisotope such as polonium-210, radium-226, plutonium-238,
or americium-241. In the nuclear reaction that occurs, a beryllium nucleus
is transmuted into carbon-12, and one free neutron is emitted, traveling in about
the same direction as the alpha particle was heading. Such alpha decay driven
beryllium neutron sources, named "urchin" neutron initiators, were used in some
early atomic bombs.[74] Neutron sources in which beryllium is bombarded
with gamma rays from a gamma decay radioisotope, are also used to produce
laboratory neutrons.[75]

Two CANDU fuel bundles: Each about 50 cm in length and 10 cm in diameter.

Notice the small appendages on the fuel clad surfaces

Beryllium is also used in fuel fabrication for CANDU reactors. The fuel elements
have small appendages that are resistance brazed to the fuel cladding using an
induction brazing process with Be as the braze filler material. Bearing pads are
brazed on to prevent fuel bundle to pressure tube contact, and inter-element
spacer pads are brazed on to prevent element to element contact.
Beryllium is also used at the Joint European Torus nuclear-fusion research
laboratory, and it will be used in the more advanced ITER to condition the
components which face the plasma.[76] Beryllium has also been proposed as
a cladding material for nuclear fuel rods, because of its good combination of
mechanical, chemical, and nuclear properties.[7] Beryllium fluoride is one of the
constituent salts of the eutectic salt mixture FLiBe, which is used as a solvent,
moderator and coolant in many hypothetical molten salt reactor designs,
including the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR).[77]
The low weight and high rigidity of beryllium make it useful as a material for
high-frequency speaker drivers. Because beryllium is expensive (many times
more than titanium), hard to shape due to its brittleness, and toxic if
mishandled, beryllium tweeters are limited to high-end home,[78][79][80] pro audio,
and public address applications.[81][82] Some high-fidelity products have been
fraudulently claimed to be made of the material.[83]
Some high-end phonograph cartridges used beryllium cantilevers to improve
tracking by reducing mass.[84]
Beryllium is a p-type dopant in III-V compound semiconductors. It is widely used
in materials such as GaAs, AlGaAs, InGaAs and InAlAs grown by molecular
beam epitaxy (MBE).[85]Cross-rolled beryllium sheet is an excellent structural
support for printed circuit boards in surface-mount technology. In critical
electronic applications, beryllium is both a structural support and heat sink. The
application also requires a coefficient of thermal expansion that is well matched
to the alumina and polyimide-glass substrates. The beryllium-beryllium
oxide composite "E-Materials" have been specially designed for these electronic
applications and have the additional advantage that the thermal expansion
coefficient can be tailored to match diverse substrate materials.[7]
Beryllium oxide is useful for many applications that require the combined
properties of an electrical insulator and an excellent heat conductor, with high
strength and hardness, and a very high melting point. Beryllium oxide is
frequently used as an insulator base plate in high-power transistors in radio
frequency transmitters for telecommunications. Beryllium oxide is also being
studied for use in increasing the thermal conductivity of uranium dioxide nuclear
fuel pellets.[86] Beryllium compounds were used in fluorescent lighting tubes, but
this use was discontinued because of the disease berylliosis which developed in
the workers who were making the tubes.[87]
Beryllium is a component of several dental alloys.[88][89]

Occupational safety and health[edit]

Beryllium is a health and safety issue for workers. Exposure to beryllium in the
workplace can lead to a sensitization immune response and can over time
develop chronic beryllium disease (CBD).[90] The National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the United States researches these
effects in collaboration with a major manufacturer of beryllium products. The
goal of this research is to prevent sensitization and CBD by developing a better
understanding of the work processes and exposures that may present a
potential risk for workers, and to develop effective interventions that will reduce
the risk for adverse health effects. NIOSH also conducts genetic research on
sensitization and CBD, independently of this collaboration.[90] The NIOSH
Manual of Analytical Methods contains methods for measuring occupational
exposures to beryllium.[91]

Main articles: Acute beryllium poisoning and Berylliosis
Approximately 35 micrograms of beryllium is found in the average human body,
an amount not considered harmful.[92] Beryllium is chemically similar
to magnesium and therefore can displace it from enzymes, which causes them
to malfunction.[92] Because Be2+ is a highly charged and small ion, it can easily
get into many tissues and cells, where it specifically targets cell nuclei, inhibiting
many enzymes, including those used for synthesizing DNA. Its toxicity is
exacerbated by the fact that the body has no means to control beryllium levels,
and once inside the body the beryllium cannot be
removed.[93] Chronic berylliosis is
a pulmonary and systemic granulomatous disease caused by inhalation of dust
or fumes contaminated with beryllium; either large amounts over a short time or
small amounts over a long time can lead to this ailment. Symptoms of the
disease can take up to five years to develop; about a third of patients with it die
and the survivors are left disabled.[92] The International Agency for Research on
Cancer (IARC) lists beryllium and beryllium compounds as Category 1
carcinogens.[94] In the US, the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) has designated a permissible exposure limit (PEL) in the
workplace with a time-weighted average (TWA) 0.002 mg/m3 and a constant
exposure limit of 0.005 mg/m3 over 30 minutes, with a maximum peak limit of
0.025 mg/m3. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health (NIOSH) has set a recommended exposure limit (REL) of constant
0.0005 mg/m3. The IDLH (immediately dangerous to life and health) value is
4 mg/m3.[95]
The toxicity of finely divided beryllium (dust or powder, mainly encountered in
industrial settings where beryllium is produced or machined) is very well-
documented. Solid beryllium metal does not carry the same hazards as airborne
inhaled dust, but any hazard associated with physical contact is poorly
documented. Workers handling finished beryllium pieces are routinely advised
to handle them with gloves, both as a precaution and because many if not most
applications of beryllium cannot tolerate residue of skin contact such as
Acute beryllium disease in the form of chemical pneumonitis was first reported
in Europe in 1933 and in the United States in 1943. A survey found that about
5% of workers in plants manufacturing fluorescent lamps in 1949 in the United
States had beryllium-related lung diseases.[96] Chronic berylliosis
resembles sarcoidosis in many respects, and the differential diagnosis is often
difficult. It killed some early workers in nuclear weapons design, such
as Herbert L. Anderson.[97]
Beryllium may be found in coal slag. When the slag is formulated into an
abrasive agent for blasting paint and rust from hard surfaces, the beryllium can
become airborne and become a source of exposure.[98]
Early researchers tasted beryllium and its various compounds for sweetness in
order to verify its presence. Modern diagnostic equipment no longer
necessitates this highly risky procedure and no attempt should be made to
ingest this highly toxic substance.[5] Beryllium and its compounds should be
handled with great care and special precautions must be taken when carrying
out any activity which could result in the release of beryllium dust (lung
cancer is a possible result of prolonged exposure to beryllium-laden dust).
Although the use of beryllium compounds in fluorescent lighting tubes was
discontinued in 1949, potential for exposure to beryllium exists in the nuclear
and aerospace industries and in the refining of beryllium metal and melting of
beryllium-containing alloys, the manufacturing of electronic devices, and the
handling of other beryllium-containing material.[99]
A successful test for beryllium in air and on surfaces has been recently
developed and published as an international voluntary consensus standard
ASTM D7202. The procedure uses dilute ammonium bifluoride for dissolution
and fluorescence detection with beryllium bound to sulfonated
hydroxybenzoquinoline, allowing up to 100 times more sensitive detection than
the recommended limit for beryllium concentration in the workplace.
Fluorescence increases with increasing beryllium concentration. The new
procedure has been successfully tested on a variety of surfaces and is effective
for the dissolution and ultratrace detection of refractory beryllium oxide and
siliceous beryllium

Y alloy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Y alloy is a nickel-containing aluminium alloy. It was developed by the British National Physical
Laboratory during World War I,[1] in an attempt to find an aluminium alloy that would retain its
strength at high temperatures.[2]
Duralumin, an aluminium alloy containing 4% copper was already known at this time.[3] Its strength,
and its previously unknown age hardening behaviour had made it a popular choice for zeppelins.
Aircraft of the period were largely constructed of wood, but there was a need for an aluminium alloy
suitable for making engines, particularly pistons, that would have the strength of duralumin but could
retain this when in service at high temperatures for long periods.
The National Physical Laboratory began a series of experiments to study new aluminium alloys.
Experimental series "Y" was successful, and gave its name to the new alloy.[4] Like duralumin, this
was a 4% copper alloy, but with the addition of 2% nickel and 1.5% magnesium.[4] This addition of
nickel was an innovation for aluminium alloys. These alloys are one of the three main groups of high-
strength aluminium alloys, the nickel-aluminium alloys having the advantage of retaining strength at
high temperatures.
The alloy was first used in the cast form, but was soon used for forging as well. One of the most
pressing needs was to develop reliable pistons for aircraft engines. The first experts at forging this
alloy were Peter Hooker Limited of Walthamstow, who were better known as The British Gnme and
Le Rhne Engine Co.[5] They license-built the Gnme engine and fitted it with pistons of Y alloy,
rather than their previous cast iron.[5] These pistons were highly successful, although impressions of
the alloy as a panacea suitable for all applications were less successful; a Gnme cylinder in Y alloy
failed on its first revolution.[6] Frank Halford used connecting rods of this alloy for his de Havilland
Gipsy engine, but these other uses failed to impress Rod Banks.[5]
Air Ministry Specification D.T.D 58A of April 1927 specified the composition and heat treatment of
wrought Y alloy.[7] The alloy became extremely important for pistons, and for engine components in
general, but was little used for structural members of airframes.[7]
In the late 1920s, further research on nickel-aluminium alloys gave rise to the
successful Hiduminium or "R.R. alloys", developed by Rolls-Royce.[8][9]

Alloy composition[edit]

Aluminium 92.5%

Copper 4.0%

Nickel 2.0%

Magnesium 1.5%

Heat treatment[edit]
As for many of the aluminium alloys, Y alloy age hardens spontaneously at normal temperatures
after solution heat treating. The heat treatment is to heat it to 500 to 520 C (932 to 968 F) for 6
hours, then to allow it to age naturally for 710 days.[2] The precipitation hardening that takes place
during this ageing forms precipitates of both CuAl2 and NiAl3.[4]
The times required depend on the grain structure of the alloy. Forged parts have the coarsest
eutectic masses and so take the longest times. When cast, chill casting is favoured over sand
casting as this gives a finer structure that is more amenable to heat treatment.
Duralumin (also called duraluminum, duraluminium, duralum, duralium or dural) is a trade
name for one of the earliest types of age-hardenable aluminium alloys. Its use as a trade name is
obsolete, and today the term mainly refers to aluminiumcopper alloys, designated as the 2000
series by the International Alloy Designation System (IADS), as with 2014 and 2024 alloys used in
airframe fabrication.


1Alloying elements
3Aviation applications
4Corrosion protection
6Popular culture

Alloying elements[edit]
In addition to aluminium, the main materials in duralumin are copper, manganese and magnesium.
Duralumin is 95% aluminium, 4% copper, 0.5% magnesium, and 0.5% manganese.

Duralumin was developed by the German metallurgist Alfred Wilm at Drener Metallwerke AG. In
1903, Wilm discovered that after quenching, an aluminium alloy containing 4% copper would slowly
harden when left at room temperature for several days. Further improvements led to the introduction
of duralumin in 1909.[1] The name is obsolete today, and mainly used in popular science to describe
the Al-Cu alloy system, or '2000' series, as designated by the International Alloy Designation System
(IADS) originally created in 1970 by the Aluminum Association.

Aviation applications[edit]

Duralumin sample from the USS Akron (ZRS-4)

The first mass-production aircraft to make extensive use of duralumin, the armored Junkers J.I sesquiplane of

Duralumin, its composition and heat treatment, was openly published in the German scientific
literature before World War I. Despite this, it was not adopted beyond Germany until after World War
I. Reports of German use during World War I, even in technical journals such as Flight, could still
mis-identify its key alloying component as magnesium rather than copper.[2] Only after the war did
interest begin in its use in the UK.[3]
The earliest known attempt to use duralumin for a heavier-than-air aircraft structure occurred in
1916, when Hugo Junkers first introduced its use in the creation of the Junkers J 3's airframe, a
single-engined monoplane "technology demonstrator" that marked the first use of the Junkers
trademark duralumin corrugated skinning. Only the covered wings and tubular fuselage framework of
the J 3 were ever completed, before the project was abandoned. The slightly later Junkers
J.I armoured sesquiplane had its all-metal wings and horizontal stabilizer made in the same manner
as the J 3's wings had been, along with the experimental and airworthy all-duralumin Junkers J
7 single-seat fighter design, which led to the Junkers D.I low-wing monoplane fighter, introducing all-
duralumin aircraft structural technology to German military aviation in 1918.
Its first use in aerostatic airframes was in rigid airship frames eventually including all those of the
"Great Airship" era of the 1920s and 1930s: the British built R-100, the German passenger
Zeppelins LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin, LZ 129 Hindenburg, LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin II, and U.S.
Navy airships USS Los Angeles (ZR-3, ex-LZ 126), USS Akron (ZRS-4) and USS Macon (ZRS-5).[4][5]

Corrosion protection[edit]
Although the addition of copper improves strength, it also makes these alloys susceptible
to corrosion. For sheet products, corrosion resistance can be greatly enhanced by metallurgical
bonding of a high-purity aluminium surface layer. These sheets are referred to as alclad, and are
commonly used by the aircraft industry.[6][7]

Aluminium alloyed with copper (Al-Cu alloys), which can be precipitation hardened, are designated
by the International Alloy Designation System as the 2000 series. Typical uses for wrought Al-Cu
alloys include:[8]

2011: Wire, rod, and bar for screw machine products. Applications where
good machinability and good strength are required.
2014: Heavy-duty forgings, plate, and extrusions for aircraft fittings, wheels, and major structural
components, space booster tankage and structure, truck frame and suspension components.
Applications requiring high strength and hardness including service at elevated temperatures.
2017 or Avional (France): Around 1% Si.[9] Good machinability. Acceptable resistance to
corrosion in air and mechanical properties. Also called AU4G in France. Used for aircraft
applications between the wars in France and Italy.[10] Also saw some use in motor-racing
applications from the 1960s,[11] as it is a tolerant alloy that could be press-formed with relatively
unsophisticated equipment.
2024: Aircraft structures, rivets, hardware, truck wheels, screw machine products, and other
structural applications.
2036: Sheet for auto body panels
2048: Sheet and plate in structural components for aerospace application and military equipmen