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Transcript of Beryllium
Name & Discovery
A 3:30 informational video on the properties and uses.
- Standard Atomic
The name beryllium originates from beryl, a popular mineral used a lot in history and known to contain beryllium. The element was originally discovered in 1798, when Mineralogist René Just Haüy realized beryl and emerald were similar in crystal form. He wasn't familiar with the elements, so he asked Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin, a chemist, to investigate. Upon dissolving aluminum hydroxide from both, he found a similar component to each, naming the new material "glucine" for it's sweet components. In 1828, Friedrich Wöhler and, independent from Friedrich, Antoine Bussy both isolated beryllium by super heating metallic potassium with beryllium chloride. This resulted in a fine gray-black dust that they concluded to be beryllium.
Beryllium powder grains, penny shown for scale.
It is estimated that most beryllium is used for military applications, so information on that use is not readily available. Fortunately, because of its low atomic number and very low absorption for X-rays, a very basic use of beryllium is in radiation windows for x-ray tubes. Due to its stiffness, light weight and structural stability over a wide temperature range, beryllium metal is also largely used as a structural additive to copper. This results in a stronger, lighter, non-sparking compound used for tools, vehicle frames and even aerospace shuttles.
A strong set of tools made with a beryllium-copper mixture.
Classification: Alkali Earth Metal
Hardness: Tougher than steel
Malleability: Difficult but it will with enough force
Soluable: Yes, in non-oxidizing acids
Melting Point: 1285 degrees C
Boiling Point: 2500 degrees C
Heat Conductivity: High
Heat Capacity: High
2. Resistant to oxidization, forming a thin layer of Beryllium Oxide to prevent further interaction
3. Only alkaline earth metal not to react in water
4. Powder form is flammable
Chemical Symbol: Be
Atomic Number: 4
Atomic Mass: 9
A chunk of Beryllium shown, along with some basic parts of the Periodic Table.
Friedrich Wöhler, one of the first men to isolate Beryllium from it's compounds.
Beryllium is HIGHLY toxic, resulting in cancer or other diseases if inhaled, swallowed or put into the bloodstream by other methods.
Beryllium was first called glucine due to its sweet taste because, unlike today, taste was a part of identifying elements.
It is one of the lightest metals on the Periodic Table.
It doesn't naturally appear in nature on it's own, but is found within the compounds of many precious stones such as beryl, emerald and aquamarine.