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What Can Beryllium Metal Do in Mechanical Fields?

Due to its rigidity, lightness and dimensional stability over a wide temperature range, beryllium metal is used for light components in the defense and aerospace industries of high-speed aircraft, guided missiles, satellites and satellites. Several liquid fuel rockets used pure beryllium rocket nozzles. Beryllium powder itself has been studied as rocket fuel, but this use has never materialized. A small number of high-end extreme bicycle frames have been built with beryllium wire. From 1998 to 2000, the McLaren Formula One team used Mercedes-Benz engines with beryllium-aluminum alloy pistons.

Mixing about 2.0% beryllium in copper forms an alloy called beryllium copper that is six times stronger than copper alone. Beryllium alloys are used in many applications because of their combination of elasticity, electrical conductivity and high thermal conductivity, high strength and hardness, non-magnetic properties, and good resistance to corrosion and fatigue. These applications include anti-spark tools used in the vicinity of flammable gases (Beryllium Nickel), springs and membranes (Beryllium Nickel and Beryllium Iron) used in surgical instruments and high temperature equipment. As little as 50 parts per million of beryllium alloyed with liquid magnesium leads to a significant increase in oxidation resistance and a decrease in flammability.

The high elastic stiffness of beryllium has led to its extensive use in precision instrumentation, e.g. in inertial guidance systems and in support mechanisms for optical systems. Beryllium and copper alloys were also used as a curing agent in “Jason spray guns”, which were used to strip paint from ship hulls. Beryllium was also used for cantilevers in high-performance phonograph cartridge styli, where its extreme rigidity and low density reduced tracking weights to 1 gram while following high frequency passages with minimal distortion.

A major previous application of beryllium was in the brakes of military aircraft because of its hardness, high melting point and exceptional ability to dissipate heat. Environmental considerations have led to substitution by other materials. To reduce costs, aluminum beryllium alloys come about. This blend is less expensive than pure beryllium, while retaining many desirable properties.

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