Beryllium Extracted by the Fluoride Process
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The steps used in producing high-purity BeO and beryllium metal, including recent modifications to production processes, are described. Particular emphasis is placed on the fluoride extraction process in which beryllium is attacked preferentially, and beryllium oxide is converted into a water-soluble form of beryllium fluoride so that no additional chemicals are required to react with other materials present in beryl ores.
Beryllium is processed from the ore in four major steps: (1) the beryl ore is converted into a standard grade of beryllium hydroxide, (2) the hydroxide is purified, (3) purified beryllium hydroxide is reacted with ammonium bifluoride for conversion into ammonium beryllium fluoride, and (4) then reduced to beryllium metal.
The fluoride process is attractive economically and offers an additional advantage of versatility.
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