The lightest of the alkaline earth elements, Beryllium has an atomic number of four. Because of its small ionic radius (about 0.27 millimeters), Beryllium atoms can bond strongly to other atoms, resulting in compounds that are extremely hard and have extremely high temperatures of melting.
It is extremely light and strong Beryllium is a must for numerous industrial products that are used in the computer, aerospace, medical, defense and telecommunications industries.
Beyond the basic information above, what else should we know about Beryllium? Explore the 20 fascinating facts below!
Also, read 25 Interesting Facts About Sulfur
Facts About Beryllium
- Beryllium was first discovered in 1798 by French chemical chemist Louis Nicolas Vauquelin.
- The metal was discovered on the earth in 1828 by two chemical chemists: Friedrich Wohler from Germany and Antoine Bussy from France, who were able to reduce beryllium chloride (BeCl2) by using potassium in a crucible made of platinum. Wohler was the first chemist to propose the term “beryllium” to describe the brand new element.
- The 1920s were when copper beryllium-based alloys were the first to be patented and then used to make the springs that conduct electricity in switches for telephones made in Germany.
- In the early 1930s, pure Beryllium was first used commercially for medical x-ray windows. Later, beryllium ceramics were used in the radio tube’s insulating circuitry.
- The 1940s saw the introduction of Beryllium. During World War II in marine diesel engines, buckles for parachute parachutes, and high precision aircraft gyroscopic navigation and target instruments. In addition, during this period, U.S. government scientists discovered that pure Beryllium neutralizes neutrons, making it a good choice to control nuclear reactions as well as the purpose of nuclear weapons.
- Since the 60s, Beryllium was coming to prominence as a vital building component for the space industry as well as the development of high-tech defense applications. For instance, a heat shield made of Beryllium was used to protect NASA’s Mercury capsule as well as its astronaut during the first human space flight.
- In 1969 the Spor Mountain Utah Bertrandite mine began operation at the United States, leading directly to the U.S. dominance of beryllium production.
- In the early 1990s Nickel beryllium alloys were the catalyst for the first inertial crash sensor systems to be used in automobiles, setting an avenue for the lifesaving device an integral part of vehicles around the world.
- In May 2018 May 2018, the U.S. Department of the Interior, along with other executive branch agencies, issued a list of 35 crucial minerals (83 FR 22995) that included Beryllium. This list was compiled to serve as a first focal point following Executive Order 13817, ”A Federal Strategy to ensure the security and reliability of supplies of Critical Minerals” (82 FR 60835).
- Based on sales of value-added in 2018, about 22 percent of U.S. manufactured beryllium products were used in industrial parts, as well as 21 percent in consumer electronics and 16% in electronic components for automotive, nine percent in defense applications, 8 percent in the telecommunications infrastructure and 7percent in energy applications and 1% in medical applications and 16% in other applications.
- Beryllos is named after “beryllos,” which is the Greek name of beryl. The element was initially known as “glucinium” (derived which comes from”glucinium” – which is the Greek “glykys” which means “sweet” to express its distinctive flavor. However, the chemists who discovered this distinctive property of Beryllium also discovered it is highly poisonous and should not be consumed (lol).
- Based on weight-to-weight, Beryllium can be six times more rigid than steel and has twice the weight of aluminum.
- It is believed that the United States, Kazakhstan, and China are the only nations that can process beryllium ore and concentrate it into beryllium-based products. Around 60% of the world’s beryllium reserves are found in the United States, and the U.S. produced an estimated 90 percent of the world’s beryllium production in 2015.
- Beryllium made from recycled sources consumes less than 20 percent of the energy the Beryllium produced from the primary sources.
- The three most popular beryllium-bearing minerals that are found in the most economic mines are Beryl (Be3 Al2 Si6 O18), and Bertrandite (Be4 Si2 O7(OH)2), and Phenakite (Be2 SiO4).
- The mirrors in the Spitzer Space Telescope and also the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are made from Beryllium.
- Pure beryl crystals are not colored; However, the addition of additional elements within beryl results in beautiful, valuable gemstones. Morganite, aquamarine, and morganite are the most valuable forms of beryl.
- Beryllium metal composites are perfect for making satellite and aircraft structural elements that have an extremely stiffness-to-weight ratio and minimal surface vibrance.
- Beryllium-copper alloys can be used in many applications due to their thermal and electrical conductivity, high hardness and strength, excellent fatigue and corrosion resistance, and non-magnetic properties. Beryllium-copper alloys can be used for connectors and contacts and relays, switches, and shielding for mobile phones to thermostats.
- Beryllium oxide is used in various uses, including radar guidance systems, missile applications, and cell phone transmitters. In addition, they are crucial to medical technology, like Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices, lasers for medical use, and portable defibrillators.
The global production of Beryllium is charted from 1950-to 2015