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Plating on Beryllium
and Beryllium Copper

Beryllium and its various compounds are highly durable, electrically conductive, stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum. Despite all of these positive physical qualities, Beryllium is still susceptible to damage from wear and corrosion. Luckily beryllium components can be electroplated to provide them with a variety of chemical and physical benefits. 

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Beryllium Copper as a Base Material

Also known as Spring Copper, Beryllium Copper is a copper alloy that is mixed with Beryllium, giving it a mix of the contrasting qualities of Copper and Beryllium. While copper is typically one of the softer metals on the periodic table, the Beryllium in the alloy greatly increases the strength of the copper, making it a formidable option for machining.

On top of this, Beryllium is a much less efficient conductor of electricity than Copper is, therefore, BeCu has significantly suppressed conductive capabilities than pure copper. This combination of increased strength and electrical suppression make BeCu a common substitute for copper components that need to withstand great deals of wear and use.

E-Material as a Base Material

E-material is a compound that combines Beryllium with Beryllium Oxide to create a material with high thermal conductivity and an adjustable level of thermal expansion. A superior conductor of heat, E-material is frequently used in machinery and microelectronics that experience high temperatures. Since E-material has an adjustable thermal expansion level, it is often used as a heat reliever/remover for a variety of other metals.

Frequently Asked Questions

About

Beryllium is a silver-grey element that is a member of the alkaline earth metals family. Beryllium is very strong and possesses a high melting point of 1287 C, making it a very durable and effective material to use across a variety of manufacturing and engineering fields

Maybe the most notable physical property Beryllium has is its incredibly unusual strength-to-weight ratio. Beryllium is the lightest solid chemically reactive material on the period table, yet it is stronger than more than half of those same solid materials. Lighter than aluminum and nearly 40% stronger than steel, Beryllium is one of the most unique materials we work with at AOTCO.

Common Beryllium finishes
With a wide range of forms, each with their own unique set of physical qualities, Beryllium can be finished with a plethora of materials. A unique quality of Beryllium is that it can be anodized and electroplated. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that alters the surface of an aluminum alloy, giving it a corrosion resistant anodic oxide layer. Some of the most common finishes for Beryllium substrates are:
  • Gold
  • Nickel
  • Anodize
  • And more!
Benefits of Plating on Beryllium, BeCu, and E-Material
Beryllium and its various compounds are highly durable, electrically conductive, stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum. Despite all of these positive physical qualities, Beryllium is still susceptible to damage from wear and corrosion. Luckily beryllium components can be electroplated to provide them with a variety of chemical and physical benefits. Some of the most notable benefits of plating Beryllium, BeCu, and E-material are:
  • Adjust/Increase Electrical Conductivity
  • Increase Physical Strength
  • Increase Corrosion Resistance
  • Provide a smooth, aesthetically pleasing, and long-lasting finish
  • Reduce Component Maintenance
  • And many more!
Common Industry Applications of Plated Beryllium
Plating on beryllium can greatly increase its physical and chemical properties. Depending on the finish, electroplating beryllium can make your components physically stronger and more resistant to corrosion and oxidation. These qualities make plated beryllium a very useful material in a variety of industries. Some common industry applications of plated beryllium include:
  • Springs
  • Telecommunications Components
  • Electronic Connectors
  • Load Cells
  • Computer Components
  • And many more!
For more information about plating on Beryllium and other metal finishes, including Military Specs, AMS Specs and ASTM Specs, visit AOTCO Military Plating Specs page.
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