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beryllium crystal is a steel-gray, brittle and lightweight alkaline earth metal. It is used in hardening alloys, making aerospace material, and as a filter for radiation.
It is a rare element that is typically found in larger atomic nuclei that have collided with cosmic rays, and it occurs naturally in the soil and rainwater on the Earth’s surface. However, it is difficult to isolate pure beryllium in the laboratory.
In its solid form, beryllium will dissolve in aqueous basic solutions like NaOH. It will not dissolve in acidic solutions, and the reason is that beryllium is not protected from acidic compounds by its oxidation state of +2.
The chemical symbol Be is derived from the Greek “beryllos” (beryl) and the Greek word for sweet, glykys. Originally, beryllium was known as glucinium because its salts tasted like sugar.
Although beryllium is a toxic element, it is still useful in certain special situations. For example, it is one of the components in emerald gemstones.
It is also a very effective hardening agent in alloys, especially when it is combined with copper. This results in a tougher and stiffer alloy, which is very useful in manufacturing aircraft.
It is also a very good conductor of heat and electricity, and is a very strong metal. It has excellent ductility, is nonmagnetic and resists attack by concentrated nitric acid. It is a good conductor of X-rays, and it liberates neutrons when hit by alpha particles (about 30 neutrons/million alpha particles). At standard temperature and pressure it resists oxidation when exposed to air, but it can scratch glass.