Design Phase Elimination of Beryllium
Beryllium metal is a toxic substance in the form of air-borne dust. Therefore, the fabrication of beryllium metal parts for aerospace applications is problematic. Furthermore, aerospace engineers tend to overuse beryllium because it is “light”. However, this is not a good enough reason by itself to use this dangerous good since other structural metals like magnesium alloys are even lighter and pose little health threat when machined. This chapter presents a mathematical method, involving Linear Programming techniques, which will help the aerospace engineer decide when the use of beryllium metal is appropriate, and will help the system safety engineer minimize both the amount used and the health risks involved. Design engineering will never completely accept input from system safety until the system safety engineer can offer them something new that they need. Here the focus will be on materials selection, and in particular beryllium elimination during the early design phase of a program. By contrast, the next two chapters focus on the deployment/storage and disposal phases of a program. By Chap. 17, the full dangerous goods life cycle of a system will have been discussed; from design to disposal, from conception to burial. As with all the other chapters of this book, these calculations serve as a model for handling similar problems involving other dangerous materials. The emphasis on beryllium is not mandatory.
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