265. Beryllium – A Useful Structural Material


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E A Smith: 265. Beryllium – A Useful Structural Material. 1960.



This paper was presented at the Nineteenth Annual National Conference of the Society of Aeronautical Weight Engineers at Hollywood, California, May 16-19, 1960. This paper initially provides a brief background of the beryllium industry, noting in particular the growth during recent years. Thereafter, beryllium’s properties and desirable characteristics for aircraft and/or missile structures are compared with more commonly known structural materials. Several tables illustrate this comparison on the basis of density modulus, relative weight, melting point, specific heat and thermal conductivity. A comparison of beryllium’s mechanical properties is also made on the basis of material hot worked by several different methods. Known beryllium applications are briefly summarized and several theoretical design studies involving aircraft and missile structures are reviewed. The four main problem areas of cost, availability, brittleness, and toxicity which normally are thought of as restricting beryllium’s usefulness are enumerated and discussed in some detail. The rather unique powder metallurgical processing of beryllium parts is described in detail with brief reviews of other processing methods currently under study and development. Machining characteristics are described in summary form and the paper closes with a review of a number of government-sponsored research and development efforts.


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