Is this phosphor bronze or beryllium copper?
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  1. #1
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    Default Is this phosphor bronze or beryllium copper?

    I have a roll 6" wide and several feet long of a copper alloy that is 0.005" thick.

    It is a shiny copper color and it has very good springing properties. You can bend it and it snaps right back into place.

    copper.jpg

    Is there any definitive way to tell if this is phosphor bronze or beryllium copper?

    I know dad had both in the shop.

    Steve

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    A definitive way? Yes. You can hold it up to the bench grinder for a few minutes. If your lungs fill with fluid and you need to be rushed to the hospital, then you can know for sure that it is BeCu.

    Sorry I can't help you with a more viable method. Maybe look into chemical etching? But if you don't know for sure be very careful cutting it not to introduce ANY dust into air that you might breathe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveM View Post
    Is there any definitive way to tell if this is phosphor bronze or beryllium copper?
    XRF gun at the scrap yard might be able to give you an answer.

    I did find .005" thick phosphor bronze sheets on MSC and it says it can be used for springs. I could not find BeCu in .005" thick anywhere though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxcarPete View Post
    A definitive way? Yes. You can hold it up to the bench grinder for a few minutes. If your lungs fill with fluid and you need to be rushed to the hospital, then you can know for sure that it is BeCu.

    Sorry I can't help you with a more viable method. Maybe look into chemical etching? But if you don't know for sure be very careful cutting it not to introduce ANY dust into air that you might breathe.
    That's the primary reason I'm trying to figure it out (also to figure how to price it - beryllium copper is more expensive).

    Quote Originally Posted by Philabuster View Post
    I did find .005" thick phosphor bronze sheets on MSC and it says it can be used for springs. I could not find BeCu in .005" thick anywhere though.
    Wikipedia lists both as used for springs:

    Phosphor bronze - Wikipedia
    Beryllium copper - Wikipedia

    Steve

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    Find a piece of each that you know for sure is phosphor bronze and/or berylium copper
    Then etch it with any acid you have at hand and see the differences
    Probably there will be some If not Get another acid

    Peter

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    If you want to cut off a small piece and send it to me I can hit it with the XRF and see what it has to say about it. PM for address.

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    That seems to be too yellow for Beryllium Copper.
    I'd wager that it's bronze.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveM View Post
    I have a roll 6" wide and several feet long of a copper alloy that is 0.005" thick.

    It is a shiny copper color and it has very good springing properties. You can bend it and it snaps right back into place.

    copper.jpg

    Is there any definitive way to tell if this is phosphor bronze or beryllium copper?

    I know dad had both in the shop.

    Steve
    Specific gravity test. Electrical conductivity. Acid resistance. Colours of reagent salts. Colours as heated. Flame test...Response to heat-treat.

    Heat-treat response is the more easily definitive, machine / metals shop environments, not Chemistry laboratory.


    Or ... the Old Fart test?

    Does not look like BeCu

    Does look like Phosphor Bronze.

    Handle it. Then sniff it. Which one do the ions smell like?

    Yes, four-legged SOB's have a far better sense of smell that two legged SOB's.

    That ignores just how very good human sense of smell is, even so.

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    Beryllium copper is not that yellow, nor does it spring, it will bend and stay there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5 axis Fidia guy View Post
    ...nor does it spring, it will bend and stay there.
    All the sources I read said that it is used for springs, although there might be different alloys.

    I believe that my dad had it in the shop specifically for flat springs.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5 axis Fidia guy View Post
    Beryllium copper is not that yellow, nor does it spring, it will bend and stay there.
    It CAN TOO be made into springs. Seriously decent ones:

    Beryllium Copper Springs Made by Atlantic Precision Spring

    5 Unique Properties of Beryllium Copper

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalo View Post
    If you want to cut off a small piece and send it to me I can hit it with the XRF and see what it has to say about it. PM for address.
    Metalo hit it with the XRF, and the verdict is in:

    It's phosphor bronze.

    Besides copper. it shows tin, indicating bronze, plus some phosphorous.

    Phosphor bronze would have 4.2%-5.8% tin (this has 5.08%) and 0.03% to 0.35% phosphorous (this has 0.118%).

    Thanks, Metalo.

    Steve
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails phosphorbronze.jpg  

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