Melting point1287'C
Electron configuration[He]2s2
Atomic number4
Atomic mass9.012182+0.000003 u
OreCommon NameFormula


Beryllium is a white metal and lighter than aluminium. Its specific gravity is 1.85. This metal is used as an alloying element. It is also used in atomic reactors. The mineral of beryllium is Beryl. Other important minerals containing beryl are bertrandite and chrysoberyl. Beryl is found along with mica, feldspar and quartz. It is found in pegmatite and coarse grain granite. The gem variety of beryl is emerald and aquamarine. The gem varieties are transparent .The green colored one is emerald and blue colored one is aquamarine. Colored and semi transparent chrysoberyl is also used as semiprecious stone . The major producers of beryl and beryllium are USA, Russia, China, Brazil, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and India.

Beryllium is low in absorbing neutrons. It is used in nuclear reactor as a canning material. It is also used in x-ray machines. It is light and resistant to corrosion. It is lighter and stronger to aluminium .So its alloys are used in aircraft structures, engines and turbine parts. Its alloys are also used in rockets and satellites .The copper-beryllium alloys are known as beryllium bronzes .These are heat treatable type of alloys. These alloys have very high strength and hardness. These are good corrosion resistant and wear resistant. These alloys show good creep resistance and fatigue resistance. These are good conductor of heat and electricity. These alloys are used in springs ,gears ,bearings ,electrical contacts , hammers ,surgical instruments ,bolts , screws ,and non magnetic tools. Addition of small amount of beryllium to aluminium bearing alloys causes a coating of beryllium oxide to form on the surface. This is more protective than the natural aluminium oxide. It is used in aerospace industries. Beryllium also acts as scavenger of oxygen and nitrogen in the metal melt. It refines steels and iron based alloys.

Extraction of Berrylium

Beryllium is extracted by electrolysis of Beryllium chloride. The Beryl mineral is crushed and heated with lime up to 1500'C to isolate silica and alumina present in the mineral. Some amount of sulphuric acid is added to the ore concentrate. The ore concentrate is kept in the acid solution and stirred for some time. Some amount of ammonium sulphate is added to it. Silica and calcium sulphate precipitates slowly. Some amount of alum also settles down. These precipitates are separated from the ore concentrate. Other impurities like iron also precipitate slowly. Some amount of sodium peroxide is added to convert the iron from ferro to ferric stage. Ammonia is added to the solution. The impurities like iron are separated. The solution is stirred slowly. Beryllium hydroxide is formed and precipitates. Beryllium hydroxide is filtered and separated. It is dried at 100'C. Two parts of dried beryllium hydroxide is mixed with one part of powdered coal and one part of pulverized pitch. The mixture is briquetted in a roll briquetter and baked in a clay crucible. The briquettes are kept in an electrical arc furnace. These are heated and reduced to Beryllium metal. The Beryllium metal is heated with chlorine gas. The product is Beryllium chloride. It is mixed with sodium chloride.

Electrolysis is carried out in a nickel coated cell. The nickel coating acts as cathode. Graphite anodes are put in the cell. Current is passed and temperature is kept up to up to 350'C. Chlorine gas is separated out by a gas pipe. Beryllium deposits are formed on the surface of the metallic cell. These are needle like crystals and separated for melting and casting. When the impurities level is high the operating temperature may be increased up to 800'C. Some amount of potassium chloride may be added to the cell for proper working of the electrolysis process. Beryllium may be electro refined to get pure metal. The cell is graphite lined crucible with iron rod cathode. An iron basket is used as anode where impure Beryllium is kept. The electrolyte is a mixture of potassium chloride and sodium chloride. The temperature is kept between 450'C to 500'C. The cell is vacuum tight with inert atmosphere. The process of electrolysis is carried out. The chlorine gas is removed through exhaust pipe. Slowly the impure beryllium is dissolved in the solution. Pure beryllium is deposited at the cathode end. The pure beryllium is scrapped and collected from the cathode point. These are washed, dried and melted for casting. Some may be used as alloying elements.