Beryllium copper

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SteveM
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Beryllium copper

Post by SteveM » Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:47 pm

First off, yes, I know not to machine beryllium copper because the dust is poisonous.

That out of the way, I think I have a roll of sheet beryllium copper. It's copper colored and despite it being pretty thin, when you bend it, it springs back to it's original position rather than bending.

Is there any way to verify that it is, in fact, beryllium copper?

Steve

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Re: Beryllium copper

Post by Harold_V » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:35 am

That it springs back may or may not indicate it's berrylium copper, although I suspect it is available in a hardened condition. In the annealed condition it doesn't have all that much spring to it. I've used it to make several types of springs for tooling I used to build for Litton Guidance and Control. The material I used was easy to fabricate, but required heat treat afterwards. It formed particularly well, by the way.

I suspect that without chemical analysis you won't be able to make a determination, although some scrap yards are equipped with a "gun" that can read the contents of alloys. You might inquire of those near you. As I understand it, the gun isn't cheap, so they may or may not be up to checking the material for you.

If the material you have is springy, it could be nothing more than copper, which was rolled, but not annealed afterwards. Phosphor bronze also comes to mind.

Might be interesting to hear what you learn.

H

Edit.
Did you happen to find a name associated with the material? Brush Wellman is a known producer of beryllium copper.
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earlgo
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Re: Beryllium copper

Post by earlgo » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:24 am

Harold is correct, an x-ray diffractometer will tell what elements are in the subject material. One of the Herron Testing Labs can tell you if you want to spend the money to find out.
I'd agree that phosphor bronze sheet is more likely than beryllium copper sheet.
The last company I worked for used beryllium copper for the sleeves of downhole drilling components. I do not know what precautions were taken in the manufacture because the company bought them finished ready for assembly.
An earlier company used phosphor bronze for springs in a sprinkler head component because of its stability in corrosive atmospheres. Patents 3866686 Feb 1975 and 4029150 June 1977
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John Hasler
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Re: Beryllium copper

Post by John Hasler » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:53 am

Beryllium copper is safe as long as you do nothing with it that would generate airborn dust.

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SteveM
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Re: Beryllium copper

Post by SteveM » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:04 pm

I know dad has some beryllium copper, because it was marked as such and I remember dad warning me about it when I was either in high school or college. I haven't found that piece yet. If I do, I can make a comparison.

Steve

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Bentworker
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Re: Beryllium copper

Post by Bentworker » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:50 pm

There was a time in the mid 1990's that Beryllium alloy bicycle frames were the "In" thing if you had a wad of cash to burn. Just in case Titanium wasn't obscure enough.

Not that that is of any help in this thread, but it make me think of those frames.
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Howard Gorin
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Re: Beryllium copper

Post by Howard Gorin » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:34 pm

BC can be formed soft and heat treated for spring temper or hardness. Unlike most nonferrous metals + BC is a good electric conductor.
I do not think that BC is a hazardous as pure beryllium, not sure material data safety information

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Re: Beryllium copper

Post by Harold_V » Tue Mar 27, 2018 3:33 am

Howard Gorin wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:34 pm
I do not think that BC is a hazardous as pure beryllium, not sure material data safety information
It's quite dangerous, although I am not privy to how much more or less than other forms. However, from personal experience, I subcontracted from Litton Guidance and Control for the entire 16 years I ran my commercial shop. They had a company policy that mandated that ANY employee who handled (machined) beryllium copper for a grand total of 90 days could never again be exposed to the material. It, apparently, is cumulative.

H
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jpfalt
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Re: Beryllium copper

Post by jpfalt » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:42 pm

I went through this years ago in a machine shop where I was working.

I started with the MSDS.

In bulk form, beryllium copper is non toxic provided you wash your hands after handling.
Welding fumes are hazardous due to the beryllium
Inhallation or ingestion of beryllium dust is considered a carcinogen as the corrosion products of the dust in stomach acid and other bodily fluids are carcinogenic.

So, if you do not generate fumes or inhals or ingest dust and wash your hands after handling, it is safe to work with.

Spark-free tools used by firefighters and energency service personnel are typically made from precipitation hardening beryllium copper.

Bastelmike
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Re: Beryllium copper

Post by Bastelmike » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:35 am

According to actual Safety Data Sheets in the EU, drilling, milling and turning is no risk. Every grinding or sanding is dangerous and requires safety measures, which are probably impracticable in a home shop.

Welding and soldering are dangerous because toxic fumes can develop, as is by any heat Treatment.

Just a compilation of safety data Sheets.

Mike

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Bill Shields
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Re: Beryllium copper

Post by Bill Shields » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:07 am

Find someone with a Texas Nuclear metal analyzer and have them 'shoot' it for you if you want to be sure.

Google 'TEXAS NUCLEAR ALLOY ANALYZER'


I also have rolls of the stuff the Jim used for springs on his Atlantic. He cut the strips with metal snips, punched holes in them and CAREFULLY SEALED AND LABELLED the extra material for what it is....been sitting since early 1950's

...have enough problems with cancer without going looking....
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

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