One of the more exciting aspects of beryllium is that this element has the strong ability to have perception hardening in other metals. This is the case for aluminum, copper, and nickel. Beryllium copper wire or beryllium nickel wire can cause hardening of the alloy’s structural precipitation (annealing treatment at lower temperatures). Copper beryllium alloys are often produced from a single master alloy of both beryllium and copper. Typically, the final product contains roughly 4% of beryllium. To manufacture this alloy, it must go through a two-step manufacturing process. The first step is the chemical treatment of ore, a double aluminum beryllium silicate, to produce beryllium oxide. Once that is complete, the next step is a reduction of beryllium oxide by using carbon to Cal sending an electric arc furnace.
Beryllium copper alloys are mostly copper-based, and beryllium is more of an addition. Of the high strength variant, Beryllium copper alloys contain between 40% to 2.0% of beryllium. Between .30% and 2.7% of other alloying elements are added (cobalt, lead, iron, or nickel). Precipitation and age hardening creates high mechanical strength. Beryllium copper alloys combine a wide range of properties that are particularly suited for automotive, electronics, telecommunications, medical, and aeronautical applications.
Beryllium copper is commonly used in constructing many devices and tools we use daily, including our smartphones and the cars we drive. It is a versatile material that can be recycled and has many different end-use applications.