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How to Electropolish Beryllium

A discussion started in 1996 and continuing through 2000.
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We would like to know some info on electropolishing beryllium.

Do any of you people do electropolishing of beryllium. I have a Be single crystal (6 mm by 15 mm by 2 mm). We have already mechanically polished the surface. I tried doing electropolishing and looks like I have not done a good job, the surface looks patchy and a little pitted.

If you people can do it, Could you please let us know the price and the time it would take to do this. We will mechanical polish the sample again before sending it to you.



T. Balasubramanian
laboratory, New York


In basic research in the 1960s and 1970s electropolishing Be single crystals was routine, after the procedures were developed and learned. There are many references.

A starting point is a chapter "Anisotropy in the Mechanical Properties of Beryllium Single Crystals" in the book "Anisotropy in Single-Crystal Refractory Compounds" [link is to product info at Amazon] Vol 2, ed Vahldiek and Mersol, Plenum Press, 1968. The authors do not describe the technique, but there is an extensive reference list.

If this does not help, I probably have a description of the technique in old reports from Franklin Institute Research Laboratory from the days I used to work there. By the time I joined FIRL, the technique was well established, the technicians did it, and I did not need to learn to use it.

Jim Hanafee
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - Livermore, California


More refined surfaces may be developed by utilizing dry process media treated with micro-fine abrasives and centrifugal barrel equipment. There are some units available now that were especially developed for processing smaller finite lots of material in the dental, electronics, jewelry and small medical part industries.

Although sometimes requiring several cycles utilizing sequentially finer abrasive materials, very refined surfaces can be developed, sometimes approaching 1 microinch Ra, with high reflectivity. SEE ALSO ABRASIVES Magazine, Dec. 99, the article TURBO-POLISHING, to which this writer contributed.

Dave Davidson
- Bartlet, New Hampshire

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