A spotlight on Copper Beryllium
Copper beryllium (CuBe) also known as Beryllium copper (BeCu), beryllium bronze and spring copper, is a copper alloy with 0.5—3% beryllium and sometimes other elements.
Copper Beryllium (CuBe) is an age-hardening alloy that combines high strength with non-magnetic and non-sparking qualities, and is one of the highest strength copper based alloys available on the market today. It has excellent metalworking, forming and machining properties.
It has many specialized applications as detailed below:
Tools for hazardous environments such as oilfields
Beryllium Copper has long been used for non-sparking tools in the mining, gas and petrochemical industries. These tools feature anti-galling and good corrosion resistance. Beryllium copper screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, cold chisels, knives, and hammers are available for environments with explosive hazards, such as oil rigs, coal mines, and grain elevators. An alternative metal sometimes used for non-sparking tools is aluminium bronze.
Spark-resistant tools are used to eliminate the chances of accidental fires or explosions in potentially combustible or explosive environments. They resist the sparks that a standard tool could potentially create when striking hard surfaces. The use of spark resistant tools is essential in many industrial applications such as petroleum and chemical manufacturing, spray booth operations, the marine industry, the mining industry, the paper industries, or any location where flammable vapours or combustible residues are present.
Copper and copper alloys were the first metals used in the fabrication of low-temperature equipment for the liquefaction and storage of cryogenic fluids. Copper and many copper alloys retain ductility at low temperatures. Their unusual properties of retaining ductility at low temperatures and exhibiting good thermal conductivity is advantageous for heat exchangers and other components in cryogenic plants and in low-temperature processing and storage equipment.
Copper and copper alloys offer a unique combination of material properties that make them ideal for many manufacturing environments. They are widely used because of their excellent electrical and thermal conductivities, outstanding resistance to corrosion, ease of fabrication, good strength and fatigue resistance. Other useful characteristics include spark resistance, metal-to-metal wear resistance, low-permeability properties, and distinctive color.
Beryllium copper is also frequently used in the manufacture of professional-quality percussion instruments, especially tambourine and triangle, where it is prized for its clear tone and strong resonance. Unlike most other materials, an instrument composed of beryllium copper will maintain a consistent tone and timbre for as long as the material resonates. The "feel" of such instruments is rich and melodious to the point that they seem out of place when used in darker, more rhythmic pieces of classical music.
Aerospace landing gear
The aircraft and aerospace industry requires alloys to provide corrosion, wear, and impact resistance as well as high-strength characteristics. The best known applications so far are found in instrument parts, beryllium copper being non‐magnetic, and in adjustable‐pitch propeller hub cones and retractable landing gear parts, where good wear resistance is required.
It should be noted that Beryllium alloys present a toxic inhalation hazard during manufacture.
Advent Research Materials supply Copper/Beryllium in foil and wire form.
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