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Beryllium, chemical element, symbol Be; for physical constants see Periodic Table. Beryllium was isolated as a free metal by Friedrich Wöhler and Antoine Bussy in 1828. Beryl (beryllium aluminum silicate) is the commercial source of the element. The element is prepared by the reduction of beryllium fluoride with magnesium metal. Beryllium is one of the lightest and strongest of all metals and greatly increases the strength of other metals when used in alloys.

Beryllium copper is extensively used for springs, electrical contacts, and nonsparking tools. Beryllium is used as a moderator in nuclear reactors. It is also used in gyroscopes, computer parts, and inertial guidance instruments. Beryllium and its salts are toxic and should be handled with the greatest of care.

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