Beryllium Metal: the Seldom-Discussed, Tiny Atom of Curious Properties

Chemistry, Health
[caption id="attachment_22220" align="alignright" width="440"] Emerald cabochon scarab ring[/caption] The periodic table of the elements begins with the tiniest atom, hydrogen. From there we proceed through helium, lithium, beryllium, boron, and carbon. Let's very briefly touch bases on all of these except beryllium metal. The Other Elements Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe. It is the fuel of the stars. Compounded with oxygen, it forms water, essential to life. Helium is abundant in space as the fusion product of hydrogen. It is lighter than air, as is obvious when it fills our children's balloons. It is chemically essentially non-reactive, hence harmless. As a joke, we may even inhale a little helium and speak out in a high-pitched, 'chipmunk-like' voice. The third atom, lithium, is the smallest metal. It…
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