BERYLLIUM

Symbol:  Be
Group#:  2
Group Name:  The Alkaline Earth Metals
Atomic #:  4
Mass #:  9
Atomic Mass:  9.0122
 
Electron Configuration:  1s2, 2s2
 
Physical Properties:
Bpt:  2500 degrees C
Mpt:  1285 degrees C
Density:  1.85 g/mL
Radioactivity:  None
Color:  Silver –Gray
Odor:  None
Hardness:  Stronger then steel
Brittle: Yes/ high
Malleability:  Yes, but can with stand great force before bending
 
Chemical Properties: (Click here for Demonstrations!! )
Beryllium has several chemical properties.  Beryllium is resistant to corrosion.  It is soluble in hot nitric acid, dilute hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acids, and sodium hydroxide.  It is also resistant to oxidation in air.  It forms a protective oxide film that prevents further oxidation.  It readily forms compounds with other elements.  It transmits x-rays better then glass or other metals.
 
History:
Beryllium was discovered in 1798 by L.N. Vauquelin, a French chemist.  Beryllium was first isolated  by F. Wohler and W. Bussy in 1828 by fusing beryllium chloride with metallic potassium.  It was not widely used in industry until the 1940’s and 50’s.  Beryllium is naturally occurring, but it is not found free in nature.  It readily forms compounds with other elements.  Beryllium containing minerals can be found in rocks, coal, oil, soil, and volcanic dust.
 
Uses:
Beryllium has many uses.  In industrial applications beryllium can be used as pure metal, mixed with other metals to form alloys, processed to salts that dissolve in water, and processed to form oxides and ceramic materials.  Beryllium has found extensive use in the aerospace industry.  Beryllium is used to manufacture windshield frames and other structures in high-speed aircraft and space vehicles.  It is also used to make aircraft and space shuttle brakes, satellite mirrors, space telescopes, inertial guidance systems, gyroscopes, x-ray windows, and nuclear weapons components.  Beryllium is used as a neutron moderator or reflector in nuclear reactors.  It can also be used in computers, lasers, televisions, oceanographic instruments, and personal body armor.
 
References:
About Beryllium (2000).  http:tis.eh.doe.gov/be/webdoc1.html-ssi
 
Columbia University Press (1993).  The Columbia Encyclopedia.  http://web5.infotrac.golgroup.com/itw/infomark/554/274/58478755w31.purl=rc10 STO beryllium3/23/00dyn=4!1n
 
Bram, Dickey (1991). Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia.  Funk and Wagnalls L.P.
Chris L.
June 6, 2000