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The Application of Beryllium in Missiles

Beryllium is a material with special properties. Some of its properties, especially nuclear ones and physical ones are irreplaceable by any other metal materials. The application of beryllium is mainly concentrated in nuclear industry, weapons systems, aerospace industry, X-ray instrumentation, electronic information systems, automotive industry, household appliances and other fields. With the deepening of research, its range of application has a tendency to expand.


Three major excellent qualities of beryllium make it quickly replace steel, titanium, aluminum and other metals, becoming the ideal material for manufacturing gyroscopes.

First, it has good thermal characteristics. The thermal conductivity of beryllium is 3 times that of steel, and 5 times that of copper, and its thermal expansion coefficient is less than half of that of magnesium. The high-speed rotating rotors in the gyroscope will produce a lot of heat. Good thermal conductivity allows the heat to be evenly distributed on the gyro to reduce the internal stress of the gyroscope. Relatively small thermal expansion coefficient further reduces the deformation of the gryo.

Second, it has excellent mechanical properties. The proportion of beryllium is one-third that of titanium, two-thirds that of aluminum alloy, while the elastic modulus is 3 times, 5 times and 7 times that of titanium, aluminum and magnesium, respectively. Its specific strength is 1.7 times that of aluminum alloy, 2.1 times that of magnesium alloy, and 1.5 times that of steel. This means the gyro's skeleton can become stronger while being lighter. Changing the structure of a three-level missile's inertial navigation system to beryllium metal can reduce the weight of the system by a few kilograms, thereby significantly reducing the burden on the overall missile system from the missile control system.

Beryllium jet

Third, it has super stability. If there is a deviation of 1% micron in the center of mass of gyro rotor, it will cause hundreds of meters of deviations for long-range missiles. The shape of beryllium metal can be stably maintained. It can quickly restore to its original shape even after the effect of very large stress. The antioxidant capacity and corrosion resistance of the beryllium shell without any surface treatment even surpass those of stainless steel materials that have been through multiple anti-corrosion treatments (An oxide layer will form on the surface of beryllium, which effectively avoids its further oxidation; after being heated to 1000 °C and above, beryllium will continue to react with the air).

Keywords: Beryllium,aluminum,titanium,stainless steel

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