A chemical element is a type of atom with a given number of protons in its nucleus. Chemical elements cannot be broken down into simpler substances by any chemical reaction. The number of protons in an element’s nucleus is its defining attribute and is referred to as its atomic number (represented by the symbol Z). Atoms with the same atomic number are all constituents of the same element.
Beryllium is a chemical element with the atomic number 4 and the symbol Be. It is a steel-grey alkaline earth metal that is strong, lightweight, and brittle. Beryllium is a divalent element that exists naturally exclusively in the form of minerals when combined with other elements.
Properties of Beryllium
- The electronic configuration of a beryllium atom is [He] 2s2.
- Beryllium’s primary oxidation state is +2 since the beryllium atom can lose both of its valence electrons.
- Beryllium has a small ionic and atomic radius.
- It possesses very high ionisation potentials and strong polarisation, which is why all its compounds are covalent.
- Its chemistry is comparable to that of aluminium, demonstrating a diagonal relationship.
- Beryllium dissolves well in non-oxidising acids, like HCl and diluted H2SO4, but not in nitric acid or water because it creates oxide.
- Beryllium is extremely rigid and has a melting point of 1287 °C.
Uses of Beryllium
- Due to beryllium’s low atomic number and extremely low X-ray absorption, it is used in radiation windows for X-ray tubes, which is still one of the metal’s most crucial uses.
- In the defence and aerospace sectors, beryllium metal is utilised for lightweight structural components in high-speed aircraft, guided missiles, spacecraft, and satellites due to its stiffness, lightweight, and dimensional stability over a wide temperature range.
- It has no magnetic properties. Therefore, as naval mines frequently feature magnetic fuzes, tools made of beryllium-based materials are utilised by navy or military explosive ordnance disposal teams for operations on or near naval mines.
- In III-V compound semiconductors, beryllium is a p-type dopant. Materials like AlGaAs, GaAs, InAlAs, and InGaAs produced by molecular beam epitaxy frequently utilise it.
Europium is a lanthanide, one of those unusual elements with the symbol Eu and atomic number 63 that sits outside the main framework of the periodic table. Europium is the most reactive lanthanide, and it must be maintained in an inert solution to avoid exposure to atmospheric oxygen or moisture.
Properties of Europium
- Europium is a ductile metal with the same hardness as a lead.
- It forms a body-centred cubic lattice when it crystallises.
- Europium has the second-lowest melting point and the lowest density of any lanthanide.
- Europium is the softest lanthanide, which can be dented with a fingernail and sliced with a knife.
- Europium is the most reactive rare-earth element. It oxidises quickly in the air and has a water reactivity similar to calcium.
Uses of Europium
Europium has fewer and more specific commercial uses than the majority of other elements, and they are listed below:
- It serves as a dopant in some kinds of glass used in lasers and other optoelectronic devices.
- A common red phosphor used in televisions, fluorescent lights, and as an activator for yttrium-based phosphors is europium oxide (Eu2O3).
- The usage of europium to prevent thermonuclear threats is one of its uses. It is preferred for neutron poison-based anti-thermonuclear missiles because of its high neutron capture cross-section and neutron poison chain.