Copper-beryllium alloys date back to the 1920s when they were used in telephone switchboards. It was not until the 1970s that beryllium copper became a more prevalent material for a wide array of industries (automotive, electronics, telecommunications). Personal computers and smartphones are typically built with a variant of beryllium copper alloys. There are many benefits engineers find when using the material, which is the main reason why it so commonly used. Straight and cut wire built from beryllium copper is incredibly strong and versatile.
The alloy is commonly broken up into two groups: high strength and high conductivity. High strength versions range from 1.6 to 2.05% Be, whereas the high conductivity types measure between 0.2 and 0.7% Be.
Subjecting wire to heat treatments enhances certain characteristics of the final alloy. Beryllium copper is typically heated to temperatures between 800–920oC. After achieving high levels of heat, alloys are rapidly cooled. Once cooled, the wires are reheated to lower temperatures (260-470oC). Reheating metal alloys at lower temperatures produces precipitation or age hardening. While in the solution for treating conditions, alloys are soft and can be cold worked into complex shapes (straight cut wire).
Some of the best benefits offered from beryllium copper wire include:
- High fatigue strength
- High resistance to softening
- Stress relaxation
- Multiple fabrication processes that allow for a wide array of results
- High machinability
- High health and safety ratings
- A wide array of applications
- High resistance to corrosion
For more information on beryllium copper wire, give our team a call today.