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Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 12:25 AM

I have a question that is not related to manufacturing process so much as personnel health in the manufacturing environment.

Many years ago I had an opportunity to machine some precision components that were designed to be made from Beryllium Copper. The parts were destined to be both lathed and milled. I never got to do the job.

The manufacturing engineer on the project almost quit in a dispute over management and the customer. He alleged that dust particles from Beryllium Copper were just a breath short of lethal to everyone in the tool and die department and threatened action if we contaminated the area.

This was in the pre OSHA era so it's been a long time. Was he exaggerating?

What is it about that material that made it attractive to the point where health risks were entertained?

Thanks

L.J.

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#1

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 1:05 AM

From "Handbook of Chemistry and Physics": Beryllium -"------------- The metal, its alloys, and its salts can be handled safely if certain work codes are observed; but no attempt should be made to work with beryllium before becoming familiar with proper safeguards. Exposure to Beryllium dust in air should be limited to 2 µg/M³ (8-hr time-weighted average - 40 hr work week), with a ceiling concentration of 5µg/M³. A maximum peak above the acceptable ceiling concentration for an 8-hr shift is 25µg/M³ for a maximum duration of 30 minutes. These values are being reviewed and studied."

This is from the 1980-1981 addition so all of that could have changed.

This looks like pretty nasty stuff. If it was being alloyed with polonium as a neutron source then it is EXTREAMLY toxic with the total body burden of Polonium being 6.8x10¯18g making it about 2.5x10ˆ11 times as toxic as hydro-cyanic acid. I believe this would require about the same precautions as handling a highly virulent biological agent.

Maybe the guy had his reasons for being concerned. Maybe you were lucky not have gotten the job.

Gavilan

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 2:41 AM

Dunno...but surely Beryllium alloyed with Copper, isn't at all the same thing as Beryllium ?
I though Berylium Copper was fairly common as a material for small springs.
(Feel free to shoot me down here...)

I know I've seen millitary power semiconducters plastered with warnings about Beryllium inside the can... (Not that I'm in the habit of consuming the innards of power transistors anyway!)

Del

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 2:50 AM

"(Not that I'm in the habit of consuming the innards of power transistors anyway!)"

Drown it in Bailey's and I'll eat almost anything!

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 4:01 AM

Hello Del the cat

<"....I know I've seen millitary power semiconducters plastered with warnings about Beryllium inside the can... (Not that I'm in the habit of consuming the innards of power transistors anyway!)....">

First time I saw the warning re semiconductors and Beryllium was when I imported Microwave diodes into New Zealand back in 1963.

That warning was related to Beryllium Oxide, which is the insulator for those diodes and later high-power semiconductors including thyristors.

Beryllium Oxide is extremely toxic, as is Beryllium Metal and all Beryllium compounds.

I would be very careful about machining Beryllium Copper alloy, and take precautions against dust and micro-particles.

The body can tolerate Copper metal dust to a small degree, as it is processed via the liver.

Beryllium is similar to the Aluminium family, as many of that Metals family and their compounds are toxic to people, because they cannot be processed via kidneys or liver, resulting in illness or death.

Refer: Google Results 1 - 10 of about 266,000 for warning beryllium. (0.04 seconds)

<:....http://www.theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/Elements/004/index.html

....Beryllium is an alkali earth metal, reasonably stable in air, and extremely toxic in powdered form. It's used as an alloying element for copper, imparting great strength and springiness to the metal. Added to aluminum it makes light, strong, stiff alloys used in race cars and in aerospace applications. Solid lumps of beryllium left alone are not dangerous as such: It's not going to rub off and go through your skin, but because of its toxicity, care is needed when machining beryllium or its alloys.

Beryllium oxide is worthy of special note because it is a good electrical insulator, but at the same time a good conductor of heat, which is a somewhat unusual combination. Metals generally conduct both heat and electricity well, while things like wood, rubber, etc, conduct both poorly: There aren't that many materials that do one but not the other. Beryllium oxide is used as a high-voltage insulator because it is able to conduct heat away from components while keeping them isolated electrically (see sample below).....">

Kind Regards....

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#6
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 4:13 AM

Cheers Sparky...GA

I shall stop sop all work on on the development of KrisDelTM Beryllium oxide based abrasive paper immediately.
(Is it harmfull to squirrels?)

Del

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#3
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 2:47 AM

The machining was mundane and not very challenging but the tolerances were quite high.

The job came from a pharmaceutical company! One of our regular customers, which are common in this part of the Country!

I doubt it was isotope material. The needed safeguards would have been too obvious.

Thanks for the response!

L.J.

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#50
In reply to #3

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 10:10 AM

I don't know, what to say. But, I worked in pharmaceutical company for a while.

In our automatic capsule filling machine, we were facing some problem with the stationary disc material against which the powder (to be filled in capsule) is stamped to create a slug which then delivered in capsule.

If I remember correctly, there is a rotating drum over this disc which carried the powder & the gap between the drum & disc was small enough to not to let the powder come out. But, over a period of time the disc used to get scratches on the surface which is not good for stamping. Since the earlier matl was copper they tried Be-Cu ( for better wear resistance), When I raised doubt about toxicity, they said it's Be-Cu & not Be. Since those were experienced people I thought they were right. Well, somehow even Be-Cu was rejected because it was of no help.

My other experience with Be-cu is, as an electrode in resistance welding machine because of its strength & wear resistance. It is commonly used for this reason. We used to do machining of the same in-house for specific electrode shape.

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#53
In reply to #50

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 12:02 PM

Brush-Wellman has a new material (relatively speaking) that might be of use in that application if you are still involved with it. It is called Toughmet 3.

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#55
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 12:10 PM

Hi,

CuBe is no good idea for resistance welding!

Some willget into the atmosphere!

And CuBe has only roughly 1/3 the electric conductivity of pure Cu. so it's not suited for this purpose.

May be you have used CuCoBe or CuNiBe - looking similar but having very different properties, among them good conductivity.

But still too much Be to be played with around!

Try CuZr, CuCr, CuNiSi or whatever similar alloy you can get but avoid Be if you make dust or fumes.

There are enough unknown bad risks we have to live with, some of the easy to circumvent known risks we really shall try to avoid.

Hope that all of you had a nice Santa Claus coming.

RHABE

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 3:47 PM

Hi RHABE,

CuBe has two major alloys, High Strength and High Conductivity. I work with the high strength but it seems the high conductivity was more conductive than strait copper. As electrical conductivity is moot for my design I did not pay that much attention to it.

Brad

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#57
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 3:55 PM
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#59
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 4:25 PM

Except for CuAg- alloys (naturally) but these are a bit expensive but pretty good and good strength too.

RHABE

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#60
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 4:29 PM

I went and dug through the data sheets 48-60% IACS at 110-140kpsi. IACS is based on copper conductivity at 100% but better purity has made some electrical copper over 100% IACS. So 60% electrical conductivity at 300% tensile strength roughly.

Brad

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#58
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 4:24 PM

Hi Brad,

the flexure hinge I showed in post 36 is high strength CuBe2, heat treated to have best fatigue strength. (This has only around 30% the conductivity of pure copper)

The high conductivity (less than copper but not very much) alloys are the CuCoBe or CuNiBe that require totally different heat treatment and are typically used for current carrying flexures in relays and motors. (I never used these.)

RHABE

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#61
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/09/2008 9:21 AM

Cu-Be has relatively less conductivity but higher strength. This is a property required for resistance welding of S.S., since it has higher resistance & higher strength. If we use Pure copper it will collapse slowly & tip will get bulged (under higher force).

Well, Cu-Cr is also better alternative (though not as much as Cu-Be) & actually we prefer to use Cu-Cr because of its relatively low cost.

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#7

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 4:54 AM

Gavilan is correct and so was that manufacturing engineer. Beryllium and its alloys are extremely toxic and must be handled with utmost care. You were fortunate that engineer went to bat for you and your collegues. Otherwise things might have turned out quite differently.

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#8
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 8:42 AM

"You were fortunate that engineer went to bat for you and your collegues."

Yes indeed! And, as a result of all these responses, I am more appreciative of that.

Thanks, all of you!

L.J.

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#10
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 10:54 PM

The Australian Navy investigated the use of Berylium Copper a few years ago and has very strict Guidlines. it seems at some point needle gun needles were made of it to stop sparks when cleaning fuel tanks etc.

Its main use is as a non-magnetic tool steel replacement and as a spring material as it is very resistant to cold working stresses. It is still common I think in older Vibrometers to hold the inertial mass.

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#9

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/03/2008 11:24 AM

Inhaling particulate containing beryllium may cause a serious, chronic lung disease called Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) in some individuals. (https://materion.com/-/media/files/electrofusion/a_truextent_info/msds-beryllium-solid.pdf) See section 2.2.5 Chronic (long-term health effects).

2.2.5. Chronic (long-term health effects)

Beryllium: Inhaling particulate containing beryllium may cause a serious, chronic lung disease called chronic beryllium disease (CBD) in some individuals. Over time lung disease can be fatal. Chronic beryllium disease is a hypersensitivity or allergic condition in which the tissues of the lungs become inflamed. This inflammation, sometimes with accompanying fibrosis (scarring), may restrict the exchange of oxygen between the lungs and the bloodstream. Medical science suggests that CBD may be related to genetic factors.

2.2.6. Carcinogenic References

Beryllium: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists beryllium as a Group 1 – Known Human Carcinogen. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) lists beryllium as known to be human carcinogens. The ACGIH lists beryllium as an A1 – Confirmed Human Carcinogen.

IARC lists beryllium as a known human carcinogen (Group 1) and notes that the work environment of workers involved in refining, machining and producing beryllium metal was associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, "the greater excess was in workers hired before 1950 when exposures to beryllium in the work place were relatively uncontrolled and much higher than in subsequent decades"; and "the highest risk for lung cancer being observed among individuals diagnosed with acute beryllium-induced pneumonitis, who represent a group that had the most intense exposure to beryllium." IARC further noted that "Prior to 1950, exposure to beryllium in working environments was usually very high, and concentrations exceeding 1 mg/m3 [1000 micrograms per cubic meter] were not unusual."

If you don't get a dust going should be fine, but if you don't need the business, and or your shop hygiene isn't first class, its best to pass.

Theres no cure for berylliosis (CBD)...

milo

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#23
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 6:27 PM

Hello Milo

from me

Kind Regards....

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#64
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/11/2008 6:11 AM

It appears that pure Be disc brakes have been used on aircraft & F1 cars; that ought to throw up a bit of dust, what?

https://www.chronicberylliumdisease.com/chronic-beryllium-disease-symptoms/

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#66
In reply to #64

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/11/2008 7:40 AM

Hi

in brake discs (long abandoned now) as in space mirrors the shape and maintaining the shape is of utmost priority.

So pure Be is not suitable as strength (at 1 to 2 ppm yield !) is too low and residual stress is too high so longterm creep will occur.

This can be prevented by using particle reinforced Be, particles are beryllium-oxide remaining from powder processing before HIP densifying.

More information was published in the SPIE conferences (20 years ago) on space-optics.

RHABE

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#11

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 1:36 AM

Hi,

toxicity of Be is high as stated above, but Be is an abundant material, existing in any soil, existing in many mineral deposits, existing as precious gemstones.

So it is not too bad, the above stated 2 resp 5 µg/m3 permissible concentration near machining operations are still valid today.

But be careful: I would not allow me nor anybody else to breathe this Be-air mixture as accumulation in the lungs is not a joke.

Be is not allergenic on itself (as other metals are not) but if reacted to organic molecules.

Toxicity is similar to nickel (not cared much about at machining!), same allowable concentrations.

What should be done: any concentration in air to be avoided.

Turning and milling are not critical unless ultrafine dust particles result (dull tools or ultraprecision machining may produce these).

Grinding should be done with water cooling, also if grinding is done by hand - never dry!, to prevent any dust in air.

Worst machining is welding or EDM as this is evaporating the Be, oxidising will not help in toxicity, and producing very fine dust. If intended think about best possible ventilation with water spray to remove the dust.

Water with sludge can be removed with waste-water at concentrations of some mg/Kg.

Biological activity of Be: Be is entering into the many places where metal plays a vital role in protein chemistry as central atom of catalysing enzymes. So if these metals are exchanged with Be then our body chemistry is impaired, the symptoms are not easily diagnosed, but cure is only a medium problem.

If there is a Be poisoning (or other metal-poisoning) then EDTA is administered that is removing the Be together with other metals from our body. This in turn would totally block the protein chemistry - fatal condition - so the EDTA is mixed with a suitable mixture of salts of necessary metals. As this is very difficult to get the right mixture the side effects are not at all like holidays.

So be careful with any exposure to common metals. Not only Be.

Also iron or iron oxide if inhaled is highly toxic.

I had to search for this as I had some CuBe2 parts to be machined and final EDM-cuts to be made.

Part is an accurate flexure-hinge intended for an oscillating scanner in an astro-satellite. Outer dimensions (as seen) 7x7mm, flexure thickness 40µm.

First one designed 1981, in satellite (ESA ISO) 92 to 96 (still flying but shut down), this one designed 98 decided not to be used as the first one is expected to be still adequate although much inferior, so the first one to be in some space mechanisms of scanning and filter wheel positioning, next (JWST) space telescope one more use.

RHABE

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#27
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 9:04 AM

RHABE, just out of curiosity, what is the part that you are showing us here? I'm having a hard time guessing it's function. Is it some kind of 2 axis accelerometer or something?

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#31
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 3:58 PM

Hi,

this is a flexure hinge.

Axis is the point of symmetry.

Meandering sides act as springs to absorb some energy if allowable defection is reached.

Intended to support the axis of a small mirror oscillating at 5 to 10 Hz for years at 9° amplitude at fatigue limit of material at cryo temperature of 2K.

The satellite that carries the infrared camera is on a low orbit (more economic) and thus inside the Van-Allen radiation belt. This radiation is causing zero- and scale-factor -drifts, to be recalibrated by oscillating between the real object to be imaged and a reference object onboard the satellite that is heated to a known temperature.

This is an improvement of the classical (Bendix made these) cross-flexure hinge, monolithic structure is ensuring stability and highest possible load capacity. Having the flexures not separated but tied together at the axis location is giving much better axis-stability at deflection.

Original intention was for a "dry" gyro. Accelerometers are possible too by this principle but the Sundstrand Q-Flex was emerging early in the 1970ties and nothing could compete with its quality.

Second application in satellites is the lever mechanism that locks in place the filter wheel of the optical assembly with its many different filters and positions.

Producer is Carl Zeiss (not the shown one but the inferior old one with same principle).

RHABE

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#12

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 7:46 AM

Without safety precautions consider yourself fortunate you weren't exposed to beryllium dust.

Years back I machined beryllium that was used in aircraft explosive bolts and on the Canadarm clutch system. I wore a protective suit. The headgear had a filtered air supply that came from outside the sealed room.

Emerald, aquamarine, morganite and some other gemstones are all a beryls containing the mineral berryllium. The drillers who mined it soon discovered their health was severely impacted. I hate to think what the health is of those who polish the gems.

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#18
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 2:12 PM

Hi,

"what the health is of those who polish the gems."

These gemstones are highly brittle and will crack if any attempt is made to grind or polish dry!

(Any gemstones need wet polishing for action of the polishing powder and for cooling.)

So the situation is not as bad.

Bur what about the regions where there is a high beryllium content in the soil?

We have only 1 to 2 ppm (mg/Kg) in our nearby soil, this is said to be harmless. But my dentist told me he has a significant number of beryllium allergies in persons that never had contact to any known form of Be. So may be by contact with soil and local dust?

RHABE

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#19
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 2:41 PM

I understand that polishing must be done under wet conditions but I have seen airborne 'fog' from some of the high speed lapidary machines they use. Judging by this evidence I conclude that it cannot be safe.

Not far from me is the famous Quadeville Beryl Pit, a pegmatite dike which has yielded some enormous crystals of green and blue beryl (1.8 metres in length) and many other minerals (the Euxenites are exceptionally rare and dangerously radioactive...also doubly terminated). The people who became the new owners ran a lapidary and cut the beryls to fashion into jewelry. Within five years they 'officially' died of pneumonia related complications...and I don't believe in coincidence....but, who knows?

I imagine that some people have more of a reaction to Be than others. I, for one, cannot touch platinum for any length of time.

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#20
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 2:54 PM

More than likely it was the uranium that killed them, either that or your country's "free health care" (three lies for the price of one!), or perhaps both.

on a side note Duck, I notice you are listed as a "Guru" with 773 posts and 7 GA's. I have 432 and 16 respectively but am still listed as "Power User". How does one obtain the much coveted "Guru" standing around these parts? Not complaining mind, just curious....

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#24
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 6:43 PM

Hello Rorschach

The "Title" of a Member is according to the number of Posts made, not the quality of those Posts.

So....for you.....68 more Posts for you brings your Post total to 500 at which point the Software automatically changes your "Title" from "Power User" to "Guru".

<"....CR4 FAQ

Refer to #25 - What do member titles mean?

25. Member titles are a fun way to track user participation on the site. The more posts you submit to CR4, the higher you'll rise along the following scale:

  • 0 - Browser
  • 1 - 4 Participant
  • 5 - 9 Member
  • 10 - 24 Active Contributor
  • 25 - 54 Associate
  • 55 - 99 Commentator
  • 100 - 499 Power-User
  • 500 - 999999 Guru

Beyond that, we really don't know (and we're kind of scared...).

You must be a registered CR4 member to accrue posts towards user titles. Any actions that you take prior to registering will not be carried over. When you register, you start as a "browser". If you registered previously at the old CR4 (prior to September 13, 2006), your information has been carried over and you will start at a level commensurate with your level of engagement with the old site.

You may notice a number of folks with titles who are not on this list. They are CR4 Administrators and do not gain rank in this way.....">

We trust you will soon arrive at the 500 Posts total, and gain the Title of Guru.

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#26
In reply to #24

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 8:59 AM

Thanks sparky, that clarified things.

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 11:30 AM

Also Rorschach,

The Good answers didn't start accumulating until last year? so many good answers prior were not added to the tally as far as I know. You will see some CR4er's who have an old(relative) join date and lots of posts but a unproportional low score of good answers.

They could have changed this when I was on legal sabbatical from CR4, Not something I track religiously

Brad

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#34
In reply to #28

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 5:49 PM

legal sabbatical? What were you in for? You kill a man for snoring or something?

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#37
In reply to #34

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 6:26 PM

No, I got out and now I'm trying to clear my name. So that would be in for something I didn't do.

I've been teaching my self law so I don't have to practice. I have done a few cases for others and have yet to lose. District court doesn't want to rule on my case because several officers of the court will be incarcerated. So I sharpen my pens. Soon I will be able to deal with it my self.

As a attorney I sometimes use as my agent stated "I learned more about the law than I ever wanted to know."

The banking fiasco we now have is but a reflection of our corporate judiciary we now have.

Jurist Brad

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#25
In reply to #20

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 8:00 AM

Sorry RorSchach...unable to shed light on your Guru debacle on account of my Ancient Celestial Mystic had to mortgage his crystal ball in order to pay for his emergency room wait time in Honolulu. It was most eye opening for him to read the 'notwithstanding clauses' in his medical insurance policy (he's a US citizen)....something about being genetically pre-disposed to 90% of the ailments requiring a measure of in-depth medical care which automatically negates the policy....etc.

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#30
In reply to #19

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 3:36 PM

Hi,

you are absolutely right - any wet dust will be as awful as dry dust.

If the beryls of this Quadeville pit contain radioactive elements (all ?) then there is another only rarely cautioned danger: Be is an gamma-n reacting element that is emitting neutrons if hit by gamma-rays from radioactive decay (or other sources).

And there may be a natural content of some very unwanted alpha-emitting elements.

Lung problems are more likely with alpha particles.

"some people have more of a reaction"

As this is often an allergic reaction the intensity may vary between persons more than 1000-fold.

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#33
In reply to #30

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 4:44 PM

Part of the machine shop at the reactor plant here is hermetically sealed for machining pure beryllium. ca1cocat described an interesting reaction of a burning sensation after cutting himself.....that was not CuBe...that was pure Be. I know this because years ago I stupidly managed to lean my forearm on a tiny piece of chip. The burn took many months to heal and the area of the affected skin is still discolored.

The Quadeville pegmatite is exceptionally radioactive. The quartz has been burned black in some places. 1/2 hr is the limit people should spend any time while there although many mineral collectors disregard the dangers. I must admit being one of them.

question............is the image you posted a compensator of some type? What are the wires made of?

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#35
In reply to #33

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 5:59 PM

Hi,

"I must admit being one of them."

Then try to wear a mask there to avoid any dust inhalation!

I know about the real dangers and beauties of mineral collection, but fortunately the nearby quarries and digs are not radioactive. But I once was at the site where emerald is found in central Europe - the water coming down the mountain is not recommended to drink! Clear seemingly perfect but radioactive!

"the image you posted"

Not a compensator but a hinge: perfect rotation, torque proportional to deflection, high load capability, very high axis stability - no unwanted motions.

The "wires" are thin blades looked upon the thickness. These blades measure 4 x 4 x 0.04 mm. The whole piece is made by wire-EDM from CuBe2. Special heat-treatment to give better longterm stability than ordinary heat-treatment. The blades shall have constant thickness for highest allowable angular deflection, or increasing thickness for maximum load/deflection-stiffness ratio.

4,261,211 is US-patent No. - expired now - unfortunately. Two-axis version is on my website (in steel or Ti). (www.uspto.gov)

Below one of the beauties of nearby findings. And a better foto of the hinge, (two in series connected to provide better mounting - the two holes on the top.)

.

RHABE

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 6:06 PM

RHABE, might I assume that it is drilled and tapped then wire EDM machined? I can't think of another way to manufacture it. If so, I bet they have a devil of a time not burning through the blades.

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#38
In reply to #36

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/06/2008 3:55 AM

Hi Rorschach,

yes, two holes drilled and two other start points from the side slots.

It takes some time and cost is high (100 to 1000$ for quantities up to 10, production only). But this wire-EDM can produce perfect curvatures and thus prevent stress concentrations - no other possibility to achieve this.

So allowed stress is much higher than in laser-welded samples.

Burning through is a real problem, if you look at the black-and-white photo you will see near the center that the blades are much thinner there - the first samples had this effect.

Burning through is complicated by oscillations of wire and flexures.

"through" is not existing as thickness tolerance is between 1 and 4 µm depending on application and absolute or blade to blade (in one hinge) tolerance.

RHABE

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#39
In reply to #35

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/06/2008 11:01 AM

Demantoid garnet YukonBeryl crystals in feldspar

Lyndochite (a crystalline form closely resembling euxenite) and terminated apatite

That is a colourful collection of chalcedony you have. In British Columbia many valley floors are covered in what is referred to as thunder eggs. The ones in Ontario are concretions with calcite crystals in the centre.

I do not go anywhere without my rock hammer.

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/06/2008 5:35 PM

Hi,

this is great,

I like especially the garnets.

We have no pegmatites nearby (next is 400km).

My specialties are:

a. nearby minerals from permian volcanism later crystallisation in geodes and faults that yield agates, quartz minerals, calcite. One special basaltic flow that has punched through 1000m below carbon beds transformed chunks of the carbon to graphite and brought gas bubbles that minearlised also with agates and some other. (No photos available now because grinding and polishing has to be done).

Rare and difficult to find from some faults: many different sulphides, rarest ist Greenockite, pectolite, prehnite, and all the ordinary ones: calcite, quartz, ...

not so often to find as one day travel:

b. alpine quartz and inclusions in quartz

c. garnets: not easy to find here but from time to time I am in alpine regions and found there: andradite, hessonite, almandine, pyrope (no endfaces) and demantoide.

Start a collectors gallery on CR4?

RHABE

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#41
In reply to #40

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/06/2008 5:58 PM

Hey......great idea this collectors gallery. I'm in!

Though I live on limestone outcrop from ancient sea I'm surrounded by pegmatites and plutons. The famous Bancroft mineral fair is close to where I live. Many calcites, apatites, corundum and zircons here....much crystallization. Vanadium and chromium present in places and this has created some gem quality tourmalines and beryls. I think I have also found Alexandrite.

One area I love visiting is composed of green and pink muscovite that stretches over the surface for many hectares. On a sunny day one must wear sunglasses!

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/06/2008 9:01 PM

So am I, Been cutting Chert for the last 3 days, all sorts.

Brad

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#43
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/07/2008 8:15 AM

Pray tell.....what are you cutting it into?

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#46
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/07/2008 8:02 PM

Cutting Petrified Wood, Jasper, Opel, Blood Stone, all are Chert SiO2. (Opel is still full of water)

I'm also cutting a cool and hard dark purple stone, And a few Thunder eggs.

I have a Highland Park B2 Machine with the automatic saw feed.

Brad

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#49
In reply to #46

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 7:19 AM

Neat! I had friends who owned a lapidary and had a 46" self feeding saw and a 20" Highland. Took hours to cut through some of the material...made clocks from the slabs.

I've found some nice thunder eggs in BC and I imagine there must be quite a few in Washington state. Used to drill a hole into them, fill with water and put them in the freezer to crack them open.

Always had a soft spot for the plagioclases...

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#52
In reply to #49

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 12:02 PM

I only have a 10" saw, and the little crabs in some of the thunder eggs always amazed me. We get a Spot I'll put in some Pics.

Brad

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#13

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 8:27 AM

I guess I should add my .02 euros worth because my .02 cents are currently worthless. I spent 35 years as an engineer for a major military contractor. During that time I designed and was responsible for fabrication of numerous items made from BeCu alloys. Usually, the shop said nothing and just made the parts according to the drawings. On several occasions, they refused to make the parts, citing insurance, OSHA, and a host of other regulations. If you ask a safety inspector for permission to machine BeCu, you will almost always get a negative answer. If you hand a drawing and pieces BeCu to a machinist, he will make the parts and not suffer side effects. I know people who have been grinding beryllia and creating its dust for decades, and never suffered ill effects. Their insurance company is aware of this and doesn't complain. They do the grinding under water, and treat the resulting sludge as hazardous waste. I have also known people who have died from beryllium poisoning because they were chronically exposed to airborne beryllia dust in an industrial environment. My personal belief is that, unless one has a specific allergy, they can machine BeCu to their heart's content, and never suffer any ill affects. Most of the good intentioned folks who write the warnings that appear in a Google search are neither doctors nor engineers. If they were engineers, they would not associate BeCu with properties such as "springiness" or "stiffness".

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#14

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 8:31 AM

Ugh, I hate to learn this info 40 years later...

In the '60's I had a project, as a machinist at NASA, to machine parts for a high energy plasma generator out of beryllium copper. Mostly lathe and mill work.

The only warning was to keep the stuff away from open wounds. Of course, back then we were practically bathing in various solvents like acetone and MEK. If anyone knew any better, they weren't communicating.

Back on the generator project I did do a lot of abrasive polishing on the parts but, IIRC, it was all wet sanding.

Can't believe I'm still alive today!! And I'm a smoker to boot.

Hooker

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#15

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 10:27 AM

I have to agree with welderman and others that made a distinction between grinding operations and lathe/mill work. If the lathe/mill work is done using sharp tools and with good coolant flow, there will not be any airborne dust to concern yourself with. I've machined BeCu parts on many occasions and I seriously doubt I will ever suffer any ill effects because those precautions were taken.

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#16

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 11:02 AM

From what I read from the posts here and from searches the warnings are very similar to the asbestos warnings and since they both effect the lungs I can see why. Now I have to wonder how many times I have been exposed to this now that I start to think about it. Is it just me or do all the materials that have the really good characteristics seem to be more dangerous to use?

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#32
In reply to #16

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 4:04 PM

Hi,

the effects may be similar (persons ill or dead) but the mechanism is different.

Asbestos fibers stay intact inside the lung until one succeeds in damaging a cells DNS to start cancer and this is growing some time to start trouble.

Beryllium is being dissolved in our body fluid and is then damaging the enzyme catalysed protein chemistry.

RHABE

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#17

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 1:14 PM

A definitive and legally applicable position can be found at NIOSH and OSHA publications.

Briefly--Dangerous? YES. Doable without danger? YES

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#21

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 4:47 PM

A company I used to work for used to use stamped beryllium copper for pin arrays to electrostatically charge surfaces. I cut myself with one and the burning was significant. Started to wear gloves all the time with that stuff.

The dust is toxic, as has been pointed out. It is also not allowed on US submarines.

Other than that it's all been said.

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/04/2008 6:19 PM

"The dust is toxic, as has been pointed out. It is also not allowed on US submarines."

Not true at all. you'll find it in almost every electrical socket, you'll also find it in the nuclear weapons on board. It is also used (as BeO) in high power electronics.

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#29

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/05/2008 11:51 AM

I'm currently working with BeCu. I have all the MSDSs etc.

Currently making a glove box to grind on it. Brush Wellman http://www.brushwellman.com/alloy/products/copper_beryllium/copper_beryllium.asp

Has been very helpful in my endeavors.

What the issue is in a nut shell is:

BeCu or really CuBe (only 2% Be approximately), that the dust or fumes kill 1 in 3. No test to tell who is the one or the two and no cure.

TIG welders regularly use chunks of copper to ball up tungsten electrodes for Aluminum welding. Talk to several who have used CuBe to do this with no ill effects. At the time they didn't even know it was CuBe. That isn't to say some poor soul down wind didn't die from it.

On the up side CuBe properly worked is pound for pound stronger than Ti that is under 160K psi. Not bad for a metal heaver than steel.

I just realized my investigating of CuBe is what lead me to CR4.

Brad

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#44
In reply to #29

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/07/2008 1:00 PM

THANK YOU BRAD!!

Reading the horror stories above, they are all talking about 100% Be. So beryllium copper is only 2% Be... practically a trace element. I think I will go off and worry about the carcinogens in my coffee.

Bill

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#45
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/07/2008 7:52 PM

Hello Sciesis2,

The 2% CuBe in vapor or dust is deadly but only to 33% as an average.

I built a glove box to make CuBe powder both to contain the dust and to use inert gas to limit oxidation to the powder. For the average engineer the coffee is more of an issue. For the rest of us we use PPE.

Brad

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#48
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 4:10 AM

Hi,

it's not useful to prevent oxidation as the oxide is as harmful as the metal - if finely dispersed!

Take care of the 2% misunderstanding!

2% is weight % as usual in mixtures, but if you count atoms it is 10% Be !!!

RHABE

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#51
In reply to #48

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 11:58 AM

The limiting oxidation is to limit impurities. Be4 is not a nice way to go.

A warning is the sign of a friend, thank you RHABE,

Brad

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#47
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/07/2008 8:13 PM

If you do not heed the safetyprecautions it could still be dangerous, and if you one of those people who have a allergic reaction to berillium it can be a painfull experience.

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#54
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Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/08/2008 12:07 PM

It only hurts for a while, then you're dead and don't care anymore. =D

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#62

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/10/2008 7:06 PM

Here is an article from NASA http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/10dec_mirror.htm?list1282116

The story begins in a Utah beryllium mine. Beryllium is one of the lightest of all metals, and the "stuff" of the telescope's mirrors.

Thought some of you might enjoy it.

Brad

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/11/2008 3:27 AM

Hello U V

from me

Thanks for that Weblink above - The story is a most interesting story.

Kind Regards....

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#65

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

12/11/2008 7:33 AM

http://www.berylliumproducts.com/

Some of the various beryllium alloys/amalgams and their applications. The alloy composition charts are quite interesting and show the scope of beryllium when alloyed with varying metals ....including Aluminium.

Valve guides and seats in varying Be compositions with copper, bronze and nickel alloys are used in high compression engines.

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#67

Re: Is machining beryllium copper hazardous?

10/28/2009 10:56 AM

No I have heard this material is dangerous just Google and research it.

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