Figure 1. Beryllium, with atomic number 4 and atomic weight of 9.012.[1]

Beryllium is the 4th element on the periodic table of elements, and is an alkaline earth element.[2] Some of its properties are listed below:[2]

Atomic weight 9.012
Density (at 0oC) 1.85 g/cm3
Boiling point 2741 K
Melting point 1560 K

Beryllium is an alkaline earth metal. It has low density and is silver-white in colour. It is found in multiple minerals, including beryl which has precious forms as emerald and aquamarine.[2]

Beryllium Uses

Figure 2. Beryllium foil X-ray window.[3]

Beryllium is usually alloyed with copper or nickel to increase their thermal and electrical conductivity. These alloys are used to make items like gyroscopes, springs, electrical contacts, spot-welding electrodes, and non-sparking tools. Other alloys are used for aircraft, spacecraft, and satellites.[2] Beryllium alloys tend to be stiff, lightweight, and stable over a wide range of temperatures (due to its high melting point), making them ideal for aerial equipment.[4]

Beryllium foil is sometimes used in X-ray lithography. The foil is used as a "window" for the X-rays to take clear images of the item being inspected (Figure 2).[2]

Beryllium's high melting point makes it useful in nuclear reactors and other nuclear work. Beryllium can reflect neutrons (neutron reflector), which lets nuclear reactors have a more even distribution of neutrons.[4]


Beryllium has one isotope found in nature:[2]

Symbol Natural Abundance
9Be 100%


The video below is from the University of Nottingham's periodic videos project.[5] They have created a complete suite of short videos on every element on the periodic table of elements.

For Further Reading


  1. Made internally by a member of the Energy Education team, with information from, Available:
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Royal Society of Chemistry Periodic Table, Beryllium [Online], Available:
  3. Wikimedia Commons, File:Beryl-130023.jpg [Online], Available:
  4. 4.0 4.1 John Emsley, "Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements", Oxford University Press, New York, 2nd Edition, 2011.
  5. See more videos from the University of Nottingham on different elements here: