Beryllium copper alloys, when compared to most other specialty copper alloys, is highly corrosion resistance while in storage, during production, and when used for electrical applications. Beryllium copper wire resists tarnish, which is an essential feature of electronic components that are soldered. To enhance solderability of final parts, engineers use beryllium copper alloys that aew frequently platted with tin.
Because copper wires are corrosion resistant, they are frequently used in marine environments. Beryllium copper wires are well suited for salt and fresh water environments. This alloy has an inherent resistance against biological fouling. Beryllium copper corrosion ratings in seawater are comparable to cupronickels, meaning that at low-velocity levels corrosions rates are slow. At higher velocities, corrosion is accelerated.
Cables for undersea communication can be used in these environments for over thirty-years without any evidence of detrimental corrosion or fouling. Beryllium copper alloys are used because they are strong, have natural machinability, and can resist corrosion.
Beryllium copper is routinely handled with organic solvents, which contains impurities that accelerate corrosion of alloys. If traces of sulfides, acids, water, salts, alkalis are left on the alloy, it will speed up the corrosion process.
Fumes from PVC and room temperature RTV plastics can corrode beryllium copper, as well as other alloys based off copper. Volatiles are emitted from other plastics under similar conditions, but these fumes will not negatively affect copper alloys.
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