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topic 11874

Discoloration following annealing of Be Cu


I am a quality engineer, and work with Be Cu contacts that are annealed, we are experiencing discoloration following this process. Can you tell me what could contribute to this condition?

Jennifer Carr
- Harrisburg, PA


Hello Jennifer!

Are you sure it is annealing that you are doing? This would be done at 1450F or maybe 1700F (depending on the alloy) and quenching in water. Aging is done at 600F or 900F (again, alloy dependent), and if you are doing that in air you can easily get some discoloration. If you are using an atmosphere, you might have a leak, you might be getting impure cover gas, or you might have contamination, like an oil film that wasn't cleaned off completely.

It's actually good that there are so many things that can go wrong- it keeps us engineers employed.

Good luck!

lee gearhart
Lee Gearhart


This is to the respondent. What process would you use to remove the oxide from beryllium copper heat treated at 600F for 3 hours?

Deborah Graves
- San Juan Capistrano, California, USA


Hi Deborah Graves,

I used to work with this kind of Cu Be annealing process about six years ago, and I remember we used to use a chemical with sulfuric acid base to remove the oxide from the copper. Ask around to chemical supply companies about this chemical (Technic for example). Good luck!


Reynaldo Arroyo
- Valencia, Calif, U.S.A.


Hello Deborah!

I agree with Reynaldo that sulfuric acid based formulations work well, and we have used them to clean our oxidized BeCu parts. Yet also effective are citric acid based cleaners. We haven't added them to our shop because our environmental folks are loath to add another waste stream, but they work wonders in the lab. Check with Lee Kremer at Stellar Solutions, who is wise enough to advertise here.

Good luck!

Lee Gearhart
- East Aurora, NY

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