About Beryllium

Beryllium

Beryllium is a rare metal possessing a combination of physical and mechanical characteristics specifically suited to a wide range of demanding applications. Beryllium metal is extremely stiff and lightweight with a modulus of elasticity almost 50 percent greater than that of steel with only one-fourth the weight. Stiffness and lightweight enable accurate positioning of high-end instruments and optical equipment providing the ability to withstand extreme stress such as those encountered during spacecraft liftoff and various military applications.

Beryllium has excellent thermal characteristics, is nonmagnetic and is transparent to X-rays. As a result of its transparency beryllium is used widely in X-ray lithography for reproduction of micro-miniature integrated circuits and is used almost exclusively in all X-ray generators. Beryllium is also widely used in reactors, and other nuclear applications, as a reflector or moderator because it has a low thermal neutron absorption cross section.

Rare earth elements and rare metals, including beryllium and beryllium alloys, are facing increasing demand pressures driven primarily by global industrial growth as well as emerging new opportunities for beryllium use. The price of pure beryllium is generally in the range of $350 to $500 per kg.

 

Market

Consumption by Metric Tons

2005

2010

North America 86 334
Europe 110 145
Asia Pacific 100 130
Other 22 11
Total 318 620


Beryllium Applications

Beryllium has a wide range of applications across a host of important industries that make it a highly valuable resource. It, or one it's many alloys, is an integral metal component of many things we take for granted in our daily lives. Without beryllium, and other rare earth metals, we would have a world without cell phones, iPods, digital and analog modems, broadband cable tools, nuclear reactors, anti-lock brakes, electric windows or door locks for example.

1.    Telecom Equipment and Computing:

  • Wireless, fixed and optical transmission tools including broadband cable hubs;
  • Cell phones, pagers, wireless PDAs, notebooks and sub-notebooks;
  • Wireless base receiver stations and wireless network gateway equipment.

2.    Automotive Electronics:

  • Modules for engine control computers;
  • Power train controls and actuators for fan/blower motors;
  • Wireless base receiver stations and wireless network gateway equipment.

3.    Aerospace and Defense:

  • Aircraft and space shuttle brakes;
  • Inertial guidance systems and gyroscopes;
  • Nuclear weapons components and other ordinance requirements.

4.    Industrial Components:

  • Directional drilling tools and high stress/heat cutting or abrasive tools;
  • High impact or stress bushings and bearings;
  • Corrosion resistant valves, actuators and welding components.

5.    Alternative and Clean Energy:

  • Neutron moderator and reflector in power generating nuclear reactors;
  • Heat and blast shields in reactors;
  • Solar energy focusing assembly and storage units.