Beryllium gets its name from the Greek word beryllos, and from the Latin beryllus meaning "green gemstone", referring to the mineral beryl.

El berilio es el metal alcalinotérreo más ligero, y no comparte muchas de las propiedades del grupo. For example, it does not react with water and is much harder than the other metals in its group. Two common beryllium minerals are chrysoberyl and beryl. Beryl has different forms, such as aquamarine and emerald.

The beryllium element is useful in many ways. For example, some military helicopters use windows made of beryllium-rich glass to protect the optical sensors. In this way, it helps pilots in night flying or in poor visibility conditions such as fog. Objects made of this metal keep their shape and barely expand or contract if the temperature changes. This makes beryllium useful in valves for fire sprinklers and car sensors that trigger airbags.

It is also used to build telescope mirrors, due to its lightness and strength properties. Beryllium is also used in the manufacture of brake discs in racing cars. Beryllium and copper alloys are used in a wide variety of applications.

Summary of properties (Be)

Atomic weight9.0121831(5)
Discoverer (year)Vauquelin, Nicholas Louis (1797)
Natural formmetallic solid (hexagonal)
Electron configuration[He] 2s2
Melting point (ºC)1278
Boiling point (ºC)2970
Abundance in earth's crust (ppm)2.8
Isotope (abundance)9Be (100))
Density g/cm31.85
Van der Waals radius (pm)153
Covalent radius (pm)99
Electronegativity (Pauling)1.57
Vaporization enthalpy (kJ/mol)308.80
Enthalpy of fusion (kJ/mol)7.90
Specific heat capacity (J/g·K) at 25ºC and 1 atm1.13
Thermal conductivity (W/cm·K) at 25ºC and 1 atm2.000
Oxidation state+2
Electron affinity (eV)unstable ion
1st Ionization potential (eV)9.3227

Back to the Periodic Table of the Elements.