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Beryllium Oxide

Beryllium oxide, also known by its chemical name Beryllia and IUPAC name Oxoberyllium is an odorless inorganic compound represented by the formula BeO [1, 2]. It naturally occurs as a rare whitish mineral bromellite [1]. Being one of the most chemically stable oxides, BeO can resist liquid metal attack and carbon reduction at high temperatures [3].

Beryllium Oxide Identification

CAS Number 1304-56-9 [4]
PubChem CID 14775 [1]
ChemSpider ID 14092 [2]
ChEBI CHEBI:62842 [5]
EC Number 215-133-1 [2]
RTECS Number DS4025000 [1]
UN Number 1566 [1]
InChI Key LTPBRCUWZOMYOC-UHFFFAOYSA-N [1]

Beryllium Oxide Formula

How is Beryllium Oxide Prepared

Beryllium oxide can be made by calcining (heating at high temperatures in the presence of oxygen or air) beryllium carbonate [6]:

BeCO3 → BeO + CO2

Dehydrating beryllium hydroxide at 400 °C also produces the white powdery beryllium oxide [7]:

Be(OH) → BeO + HO

Powdered beryllium metal is burned in air to make a mixture of beryllium oxide and beryllium nitride [8]:

  1. 2Be + O2 → 2BeO
  2. 3Be + N2 → Be3N2

Beryllium Oxide Powder

Properties and Characteristics of Beryllium Oxide

General Properties

Molar Mass/Molecular Weight 25.011 g/mol [1]

Physical Properties

Color and Appearance White crystalline powder [1, 6]
Melting Point 2507 °C, 4545 °F [6]
Boiling Point 3900 °C, 7052 °F [6]
Density 2.9 g cm-3 [6]
State of matter at room temperature (solid/liquid/gas) Solid [1]
Solubility Slowly soluble in alkali hydroxides and concentrated acids [2]
Solubility in Water Insoluble (0.00002 g/100 mL) [2]
Thermal Conductivity (at room temperature) 264 W/K.m [1]
Heat Capacity 1050 J/kg.K [6]

Chemical Properties

Acid or Base Amphoteric compound (reacts both as an acid and a base) [9]

Atomic Properties

Crystal Structure Hexagonal wurtzite [1]

Beryllium Oxide Structure

What is it Used for

  • Making high-technology ceramics, electrical insulators, electronic heat sinks, gyroscopes, rocket nozzle crucibles, and military armor vehicle because of its high stability [1].
  • Constructing radomes, antennae, and windows in microwave devices since it is transparent to microwaves [1].
  • Producing automotive ignition systems, high-density electrical circuits, radar electronic-countermeasure system, thermocouple tube, and laser structural components [1].

Beryllium Oxide Health Hazards and Poisoning

Beryllium oxide, in its powdered form, has carcinogenic properties and should be handled with extreme caution [1, 10]. It can cause severe poisoning if swallowed and inhaled [1]. Breathing beryllium oxide fumes may irritate the lungs, nose, and throat [10]. High exposure to BeO can cause cough, shortness of breath, pneumonia with fever, bronchitis, and cancer [1, 10]. Contact with beryllium oxide dust can cause irritation of skin and inflammation of eyes [1]. Symptoms of beryllium disease include fatigue, anorexia, and a dramatic weight loss [1].

References

  1. Beryllium Oxide (Compound) – Pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. Beryllium Oxide – Chemspider.com
  3. Beryllium Oxide – Americanberyllia.com
  4. Beryllium Oxide – Americanelements.com
  5. CHEBI:62842 – beryllium oxide – Ebi.ac.uk
  6. Beryllium Carbonate – Americanelements.com
  7. Beryllium Hydroxide – Revolvy.com
  8. Beryllium: reaction of elements – Webelements.com
  9. Amphoteric Behavior – Chem.libretexts.org
  10. Hazardous Substance Fact Sheet – Beryllium Oxide – Nj.gov

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