There are a number of beryllium uses in the world today and knowing these uses is important especially for those in the metal and mining industry. Beryllium uses in everyday life has spread from use in industrial areas to domestic uses, which has seen the increase in demand for the metal.
Beryllium metal is mined from beryl and bertrandite minerals as pure beryllium does not exist. These two are the major sources of the metal. The US is the largest producer and user of the metal. The metal has certain features, which explains why the metal is preferred for various uses.
- The metal is silver gray in color, which gives a shiny appearance to its products
- It is light in weight thus used in the making of light items and objects
- It is very rigid and strong and this is attributed to its crystalline structure
- It is corrosion resistant thus makes beryllium uses in moist areas appropriate
- It has a high melting point, which explains why beryllium uses in industrial places is common
- The metal is a good conductor of heat
- It is an excellent electrical conductor
- It is non-magnetic
There are a great number of beryllium uses and some of the most important uses of beryllium include:
- making of X-ray radiation windows. This is because the metal has low absorption affinity for X-rays thus ensuring the images obtained are of a high resolution.
- The metal is used in the aerospace industry to make parts of the aerospace objects such as satellites, missiles and aircraft due to its lightweight and its stability to high temperatures.
- It is used by the military in making nuclear weapons.
- It is used in high-energy particle generating equipment due to its low absorption property and strength that enhances creation of a powerful vacuum.
- Other common uses of berylliu
- Used in making various optical mirrors ranging from telescope mirrors to tank mirrors.
- Due to its non-magnetic property, the metal is used in making tools used in naval mines and in the maintenance of the MRI equipment.
- It is used in the making of switches, connectors and electrical devices due to its excellent electrical conducting capabilities.
- Used in making beryllium copper, which is used in making of domestic items such as adjustable wrenches and gutters.
- Used in making brakes for military aircrafts and racing cars such as the F1 race cars.
- Used as insulators in making of RF transmitters.
Even with the various beryllium uses, the metal is known to be carcinogenic and continuous exposure to the metal can lead to health complications. Therefore, it is advisable to wear protective clothing and reduce contact with the metal when working with it.