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Beryllium Fluoride

Author: Hans Lohninger

Beryllium fluoride (BeF2) is a white solid being used as the principal precursor for the manufacture of beryllium metal. The production of beryllium is done by the reduction of BeF2 at 1300C with magnesium in a graphite crucible:

BeF2 + Mg Be + MgF2

In order to obtain BeF2 beryllium ores (mainly bertrandite) are converted into Be(OH)2. The impure Be(OH)2 then reacts with ammonium bifluoride to give ammonium tetrafluorberyllate:

Be(OH)2 + 2 (NH4)HF2 (NH4)2BeF4 + 2 H2O

Tetrafluorberyllate is a robust ion, which allows its purification by precipitation of various impurities as their hydroxides. Heating purified (NH4)2BeF4 gives the desired product:

(NH4)2BeF4 2 NH3 + 2 HF + BeF2

Last Update: 2011-02-16