Jump to content

Identifying beryllium copper?


Recommended Posts

I recently salvaged a large fuse box panel assembly and took the pieces to the scrap yard. The copper busbars got turned into cash, partly because I needed the cash, but also because I didn't want to take the risk that they were beryllium copper and therefore not good for me to work.

However, the copper bars that connected three of the boxes to the busbars are a nice size (about 3/16" x 1/2"). I'm wondering if there's any way to determine whether or not they are beryllium copper, just to set my mind at ease.  


(Unfortunately, my usual scrap yard has closed, and I therefore couldn't use their XRF gun to identify the alloy.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DearJHCC, to take away some worries and a short explanation. As you can see on the pictures, it is about busbars from a discarded control cabinet. These are usually made from low-alloyed or pure copper. Here there are only traces of some alloying elements such as nickel, cobalt aluminum and sometimes Beryllium (0.4%). With real Berilyum copper there is> / = 3% Beryllium which is used in spark-free tools, is very expensive and actually very dangerous for your health when machining or forging. See the Wiki link. At the start of my foundry activities I myself made my own bronze of 9 parts of busbar and 1 part of tin.



2.1285 Becopper.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BeCu alloys look like brass, no copper red unless heat treated, then there is some, but it rubs off. When polished it looks just like gold. We had to be careful as our chem dip would leave the parts looking gold plated, and one customer almost sent some out thinking they had already been plated.  We machined literal tons of it at the last shop. The Buss bars were copper, as that is not a good application for BeCu alloy properties. BeCu is a chronic inhalation hazard, so fumes or dust is an issue.  I talked with our supplier and the Be content was a max of 2%.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...