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From: Henry Spencer <>
Subject: Re: Mercury
Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 03:28:02 GMT

In article <>,
Craig Bingman <> wrote:
>>    The R&R and RCS section surfaces are unbeaded shingles of cross-rolled
>>beryllium. The plate is supplied to
>>    McDonnell, by Brush Beryllium Company, in sheets...
>So in the "they also served" category, has anyone dug through the health
>records of McDonnell to see if anyone was affected by Be inhalation?

No reason why they would be, if proper precautions were taken... and I
think the problem was understood by that time.

The reason beryllium isn't more widely used for aerospace structures today
is not so much that it's toxic as that it's *brittle*, for fundamental
reasons of crystal structure which are not fixable.  (It isn't because
people didn't try...)  Aerospace customers put up with materials which
need all kinds of obnoxious manufacturing procedures.  Beryllium is not
that much worse than some other things in terms of the hassles involved;
the problem is that it just doesn't work very well for general-purpose
structural applications.
Being the last man on the Moon                  |     Henry Spencer
is a very dubious honor. -- Gene Cernan         |

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