633. Beryllium for Aerospace Vehicle Weight Savings


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R L Crossen: 633. Beryllium for Aerospace Vehicle Weight Savings. 1967.



Beryllium may be ‘toxic, brittle and expensive’ but it also offers an un-matched combination of lightweight, stiffness and heat capacity. To demonstrate the light weight of beryllium the inverted strength-density ratio (or density-strength ratio) is used to compare beryllium with aluminum, steel, titanium and magnesium. Comparing the stiffness of these materials an inverted modulus- density ratio (or density-modulus ratio) shows that beryllium’s nearest competitor has a density- modulus five times that of beryllium. The combined effects of weight, strength and stiffness are compared using the relative weights of flat unsti.fened wide columns with beryllium as a base of one. Comparison of energy capacity is made showing beryllium has a capacity four times that of steel on an equal weight base.
Recent advances in technology, coupled with the successful development of beryllium structural designs ,point to a much broader use of this material. The design of a beryllium rudder for the McDonnell F-4C is discussed. This successful design and fabrication of a beryllium structure using cross-rolled sheet resulted in a weight saving of 40 percent over the aluminum production design.
A proposal for a beryllium supersonic transport rudder illustrates the advantages of using beryllium at a design temperature of 500 degrees over a titanium design with a weight saving of 33 percent.
In application of beryllium as the heat sink material in aircraft disc brakes a 60 percent reduction in heat sink weight is possible. The total brake weights have been reduced as much as 25 percent.
The utilization of beryllium in engines is another area of substantial weight saving which may become possible with the advances in beryllium technology. Preliminary estimates indicate that savings as high as 25 percent will be possible by direct substitution of beryllium into theengine.
From the examples cited it is possible now for the engineer to approach a program with some confidence that the undesirable obstacles can be overcome and the unusual properties of beryllium can be utilized in practical configuration.


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