16 Facts about Beryllium and Why You Should Care

OSHA is about to enforce requirements to limit exposure to Beryllium on job sites and for a good reason–It is deadly.  We’ve heard a lot about the new Silica Rule, but knowing the facts about beryllium is just as important.  OSHA estimates that around 11,500 construction workers are exposed to beryllium on job sites throughout the country, mostly through coal slag, which is commonly used in abrasive sandblasting. Like other respirable particulates found in construction, beryllium has been linked to a lung disease, specifically chronic beryllium disease.  The disease kills around 100 people each year.

Sy-Klone International offers filtration to protect workers from exposure to beryllium. Our RadialSHIELD® filtration improves air quality in operator enclosures and engines. The MERV 16*/F9 filter (minimum level of filtration recommended by NIOSH for mining operations) uses unique nanotechnology with “self-cleaning” filter media which provides dramatically extended filter life. Our HEPA filter is manufactured to the highest quality standard. Not only does the equipment operator breathe easier, but the HVAC systems stay clean and healthy as well.

Used with Sy-Klone’s patented RESPA® Cab and Enclosure Air Quality Products, these filtration systems are cost-effective tools for at providing clean air to your HVAC system and keeping recycled air safe and breathable by greatly reducing respirable contamination.Here are some facts about Beryllium:

Element Name Beryllium
Element Symbol Be
Element Family Alkaline Earth
Color Steel Gray
State Solid
Atomic Weight (Atom’s Average Mass) 9.012182(3)
Melting Point 1278°C or, 2348.6°F or, 1551.2 K
Boiling Point 2469°C or, 4479.8°F or, 2742 K
Density at 20°C 1.848 grams/cm3
Number of Electrons 4
Number of Protons 4
Number of Neutrons (In the Isotope Found Most Abundantly) 5
Electronic Configuration 1s22s2
Most Stable Isotope 9Be: Natural Abundance – 100%
Element Structure Hexagonal Close-Packed (hcp)
Atomic Radius 112 pm (picometer)
Hardness 5.5 Mohs

Interesting Beryllium Facts:

  1. Though Beryllium is a relatively soft metal, it is actually hard and at room temperature, it is a brittle element.
  2. Of all alkaline earth metals known to us, Beryllium is the lightest of all.
  3. The metal sits on the 4th place on the periodic table, but when it comes to abundance on Earth, it takes the 44th.
  4. Compared to steel’s specific stiffness, Beryllium’s specific stiffness is 6x more.
  5. If we compare the density of Beryllium with Aluminum, Beryllium is less dense (only 2/3rd of that of Aluminum).
  6. Beryllium is not at all magnetic. It is because of this property that radar systems and radios are fine-tuned using this metal.
  7. The reason why Beryllium is resistant to concentrated nitric acid is that when left in the air, Beryllium reacts with air forming a thin film of BeO – a hard oxide of the metal – on the metal’s surface. It is this BeO that prevents the corrosion.
  8. Beryllium is widely used in nuclear reactors as moderator, neutron absorber, shield, and reflector.
  9. In order to make spark-proof tools, an alloy of Copper and Beryllium is used.
  10. Because of its relative transparency to X-Rays, Beryllium is used as foils on X-Ray emitter windows.
  11. International Agency for Research on cancer has said that Beryllium is carcinogenic and that prolonged exposure to this element can lead to lung cancer. This means that those people who are involved in Beryllium mining are in greater danger.
  12. The mirrors that are used in James Webb Telescope of NASA actually have Beryllium as the main ingredient.
  13. Beryllium Science & Technology Association says that cellphones, cameras and other portable devices that we use on a regular basis use materials that contain Beryllium.
  14. European Commission has a list of critical raw materials. The list contains 20 materials and Beryllium is one of them.
  15. US Geological Survey says that Beryllium is considered as a critical and strategic material by US Department of Defense. The reason is that products that the Defense Department considers important for US National Security contain Beryllium.
  16. Kazakhstan, America, and China are the only three countries in this world that produce Beryllium on an industrial scale.

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