Beryllium

Written by J.A Dobado | Last Updated on April 22, 2024

Beryllium element periodic table

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

Beryllium is the lightest alkali earth metal, and does not share many of the properties of the group, it is a strong and brittle metal. For example, it does not react with water and is much harder than the other metals in its group. It is a silver-gray color and is highly reflective. Two common beryllium minerals are chrysoberyl and beryl. Beryl has different forms, such as aquamarine and emerald (gemstones).

It is extracted from beryl and other minerals through a process called beryllium extraction.

Beryllium has many important uses, including in aerospace and defense, in the nuclear industry, in the production of electronics, and in the manufacture of structural materials. 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.

Beryllium element periodic table

Electron configuration

The electron configuration of an element describes the arrangement of electrons in the atoms of that element, and be used to predict its chemical properties and reactivity.

In the electron configuration notation, the letters "s", "p", "d", and "f" represent the different types of atomic orbitals, and the superscripts indicate the number of electrons in each orbital. The orbitals are filled in a specific order, starting with the lowest energy orbital and working up.

electron configuration of element Be

Emission spectra

Each element in the periodic table presents its own unique emission spectra, which is determined by the energy levels of its electrons. When an electron in an atom is excited to a higher energy level, it can de-excite by emitting a photon of light with an energy equal to the difference between the two levels. This results in a characteristic emission line in the spectra (which corresponds to specific wavelengths of light). These spectra are usefull to identify the elements present in a sample.

emmision spectra of element Be

Symmary of properties (Be)

Atomic weight9.0121831(5)
Discoverer (year)Vauquelin, Nicholas Louis (1797)
Natural formmetallic solid (hexagonal)
Electron configuration[He] 2s2
M.p. (ºC)1278
B.p. (ºC)2970
Earth's crust abundance (ppm)2.8
Isotope (abundance %)9Be (100))
Density (g/cm3)1.85
vdW radius (pm)153
Covalent radius (pm)99
Electronegativity (Pauling)1.57
Vaporisation enthalpy (Kj/mol)308.80
Fusion enthalpy (kJ/mol)7.90
Specific heat capacity (J/g·K) at 25ºC and 1 at1.13
Thermal conductivity (W/cm·K) at 25 ºC and 1 at2.000
Oxidation number2
Electronic affinity (eV)unstable ion
1st Ionization energy (eV)9.3227

Definition of terms in the previous table

  • Atomic weight: The average mass of an element's atoms, typically given in atomic mass units (amu).
  • Natural form: The most stable and abundant form of an element that occurs naturally in the environment.
  • Electron configuration: The arrangement of electrons in an atom or molecule.
  • Melting point: The temperature at which a solid substance turns into a liquid.
  • Boiling point: The temperature at which a liquid substance turns into a gas.
  • Earth's crust abundance (ppm): The concentration of an element in the Earth's crust, typically given in parts per million (ppm).
  • Isotope (abundance %): A variant of an element that has the same number of protons in the nucleus, but a different number of neutrons. The abundance of an isotope is the percentage of the isotope in a sample of the element.
  • Density (g/cm3): The mass of a substance per unit volume.
  • vdW radius (pm): The radius of an atom or molecule as predicted by the van der Waals model, typically given in picometers (pm).
  • Covalent radius (pm): The distance from the center of an atom to the center of another atom with which it is bonded covalently, typically given in picometers (pm).
  • Electronegativity (Pauling): A measure of an atom's ability to attract electrons in a chemical bond, based on the Pauling scale.
  • Vaporisation enthalpy (kJ/mol): The amount of energy required to convert a substance from a liquid to a gas at a constant temperature.
  • Fusion enthalpy (kJ/mol): The amount of energy required to convert a substance from a solid to a liquid at a constant temperature.
  • Specific heat capacity (J/g·K) at 25ºC and 1 at: The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of a substance by 1 degree Celsius at a constant pressure.
  • Thermal conductivity (W/cm·K) at 25 ºC and 1 at: The ability of a substance to conduct heat, typically given in watts per centimeter per kelvin.
  • Oxidation number: A positive or negative integer that represents the number of electrons that an atom has gained or lost in a chemical compound.
  • Electronic affinity: The energy change associated with adding an electron to a neutral atom to form a negative ion.
  • 1st Ionization energy: The energy required to remove the most loosely bound electron from a neutral atom.
 

Back to the Periodic Table of the Elements.

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