Beryllium - Mechanical Properties And Material Applications

Topics Covered

Physical Properties
Mechanical Properties
Thermal Properties


In 1798, beryllium was discovered by Louis-Nicholas Vauquelin. It is a fairly soft metal, brittle in nature, with high specific heat, stiffness-to-weight ratio, strength-to-weight ratio and thermal conductivity. It can be easily rolled, machined, extruded, and drawn.

The following datasheet gives an overview of beryllium.

Physical Properties

The following table shows the physical properties of beryllium.

Properties Metric Imperial
Density 1.844 g/cm³ 0.06662 lb/in³
Melting point 1273 - 1283°C 2323 - 2341°F

Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of beryllium are outlined in the following table.

Properties Metric Imperial
Tensile strength 370 MPa 53700 psi
Yield strength 240 MPa 34800 psi
Fatigue strength (@# of cycles 1.00e+7, Kt=3.07 and R = 0.1) 160 MPa 23200 psi
Shear strength (hot-pressed block) 345 MPa 50000 psi
Shear strength (cross-rolled sheet) 480 MPa 69600 psi
Fracture toughness (KIC for hot-pressed structural grades) 10.6 - 12.3 MPa 9.65 - 11.2 ksi
Elastic modulus 303 GPa 43900 ksi
Poisson's ratio 0.0700 - 0.180 0.0700 - 0.180
Elongation at break 3% 3%
Charpy impact 1.50-5.50 J 1.11-4.06 ft-lb
Hardness, Rockwell B (converted from Brinell hardness) 75 - 85 75 - 85

Thermal Properties

The thermal properties of beryllium are displayed in the following table.

Thermal Properties Metric Imperial
Thermal expansion co-efficient (@ 25°C/77°F, increases rapidly until 100°C) 11.5 µm/m°C 6.39 µin/in°F
Thermal conductivity 216 W/mK 1500 BTU in/hr.ft².°F


Beryllium has the following applications:

  • X-ray sources/detectors
  • Nuclear reactors
  • Inertial guidance instruments
  • IR target acquisition systems
  • Computer parts
  • Heat sink constraining cores
  • Aircraft and satellite structures

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