Name Origin/Source:

        Beryllium comes from the Greek word “beryllos”, which is the name for the semi-precious gemstone, beryl.

Interestingly, the main source of beryllium is the mineral beryl, which is the same mineral that make emeralds. For thousands of years, both beryl and emeralds were known and used by the Egyptians. But the minerals weren’t realized to be the same until 1798 by the French chemist L.N. Vauquelin. He named the mineral beryllium aluminum silicate:


         Later, beryllium was isolated by German chemist Frederick Wohler through fusing beryllium chloride with metallic potassium. This is a  which is single replacement reaction that isolates beryllium metal:

   2K + BeCl2 ---> 2KCl + Be



It was once called glucinium from the Greek word “glucose” which means sugar. Thus is alludes to is sweet taste, but, unfortunately, it was determined that beryllium and its compounds were extremely poisonous and shouldn't be consumed.

Symbol: Be 

Classification: Alkaline Earth Metal

Physical Properties


Description:  Beryllium is a strong, extremely lightweight, lustrous metal that has a high melting point and closed packed hexagonal structure. And its low density and hexagonal structure that make the element extremely strong and very resistant to bending over a broad temperature range. In addition, the combination of properties and dimensional stability allow beryllium to be machined to close tolerances. Weight for weight, beryllium is six times stronger and stiffer than steel. Lastly, with its high melting point, has high thermal conductivity and the metal can easily handle high temperatures  .



Crystal Structure: hexagonal

Color: silver white/ gray

Taste: very sweet ,but toxic-

Intensive characteristics:

Density @ 293 K: 1.8477 g/cm3

Boiling Point: 2,970.0 C (3243.15 °K, 5378.0 °F)

Melting Point: 12,780C (1551.15K, 2332.4 F)



Chemical Properties:

Properties: Beryllium is a not found free in nature because it readily forms compounds as a result of its electron structure or two valence electrons it must release in order to obtain a stable noble gas configuration . It the most reactive element in the family and must be stored in oil. At ordinary temperatures, it is resistant to nitric acid corrosion & oxidation corrosion in air. Its resistance results from the formation of an oxidation layer that prevents further oxidation. In addition, it is soluble in hot nitric acid, and is dilute in hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acids, and sodium hydroxide.  Lastly, it is nonmagnetic and is permeable or transparent to X-Rays. It is its high melting point and transparency to X-rays that make it a good window for X-ray tubes.


Some of Beryllium isotopes include:


Isotope            Half Life

Be-7                53.3 days

Be-9                     Stable

Be-10   260

0000.0 years




Sources: beryl, chrysoberyl (ores)- It is primarily found or obtained from beryl ores the same ores that produce emeralds. These deposits can be found all over the world like in Western

 Australia, Wales, New England and other locations.



Toxicity: extremely toxic- When it was first discovered,

scientists found beryllium and its compounds to be very sweet.

For some time it was called Gulcinium, which is from the Greek word for sugar, “glucose.” It was soon determined that beryllium and its compounds were extremely toxic.

         Again, beryllium and its compounds are very poisonous and inhalation can lead to berylliosis. Berylliosis, also known as chronic beryllium disease, is an incurable inflammation and scarring of the lungs. CBD can affect other organs such as: the lymph nodes, skin, liver, spleen, kidneys, and heart. If beryllium enters cuts in the skin, non-cancerous ulcerating growths may form.



Biological Symptoms of CBD include:

*persistent coughing,

*shortness of breath,


*chest and joint pain,

*blood sputum,

*rapid heart rate.

 It is treatable with the use of dangerous steroids to reduce inflammation. But extensive use of steroids can lead to further damage to the body such: as calcium loss from bones, and salt retention, and higher blood cholesterol.




Atomic Structure:

Atomic number: 4

Atomic Mass: 9.012182 amu

Electron Configuration: 1s2 2s2

This determines which periodic family the element is in and its chemical and physical properties.

Number of Energy Levels: 2

First Energy Level: 2

Second Energy Level: 2




Alloys- Beryllium is extensively used in alloys to raise melting points and lower densities of metals to give them greater strength, stiffness over wide temperature range. Such alloys include gold or aluminum. When beryllium is added to copper it makes a nonmagnetic alloy that is six times stronger than pure copper. This strong alloy is used to make non-sparking tools for refineries and other necessary fire hazard locations. This alloy is also used for small mechanical parts like in cameras, computers, and gyroscopes.


Aerospace Industry- Beryllium also is used extensively for structural material in the aerospace industry, which includes aircraft, missiles, spacecraft and communication satellites. Some of the aircraft components include: brake discs, windshield frames, and support beams. It is an ideal structural material because of its resistance to corrosion, high melting point, its low density (1/3 of aluminum) and high strength.



Nuclear Reactors - Beryllium resists attack by liquid sodium metal and has a high melting point. Therefore, it is used in cooling systems of nuclear reactors where liquid sodium is used as heat transfer material. Also, it is used as a shield and moderator in nuclear reactors because it is a good reflector and absorber of neutrons.


X-Ray tubes-Because beryllium has a high melting point and transmits X-rays better than glass and other metals, it is used for window material for X-ray tubes.


Beryllium was discovered in 1798 as the oxide, beryllia, by French chemist Louis Nicolas Vauquelin. Vauquelin discovered that the beryl and emerald were identical. Later, in 1828, German chemist Frederick Wohler and French scientist W. Bussy independently isolated beryllium by fusing beryllium chloride with metallic potassium. This is a single replacement reaction in wich beryllium, in the beryllium chloride compound, is replaced by potassium.



Date of Discovery: first as beryllia in 1798, then isolated as beryllium as 1828

Discover: isolated beryllium by Frederick Wohler



Family Page