Beryllium

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Tootsall, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    TM, the so-called beryllium bells are really an alloy of copper that uses a very small amount (2% or less) of beryllium instead of the usual 25-35% zinc. This is done to make the copper "tougher". Why? Because the "relatively pure" copper is used to form the bells through electrical deposition of the copper in solution onto the surface of a mandrel which is subsequently removed and pure copper is VERY soft.

    This leaves a bell with exceptionally even wall thickness, no longitudinal seams, etc. The Beryllium apparently makes the "pure copper" a bit tougher but without impeding it's ability to be electrodeposited. I understand that the electroformed bells are now made by Anderson Plating for Schilke but this is only 2nd hand info. There have been stories about some rather special bells being made for some name players but someone else would have to post that info... I don't know where to find it.

    The beryllium content according to Marks is around 2%, the rest is copper.

    You will doubtless remember that Conn did the same thing with their "Coprion" bells (which stands for "copper-ion"). I'm not sure what trace element they might have used "back then"...perhaps an email to Margaret Downey would get a result.

    Also, while on the topic of beryllium...many folks claim that beryllium is deadly poisonous. Well so is almost every metal you can think of if it is powdered through machining processes and then inhaled! If I were in the market for this kind of bell material (and horn response) personally, I wouldn't give it a second thought.

    I did a check through "Mark's Handbook for Mechanical Engineers" and obtained some interesting info on different copper (brass?) alloys and their compositions and characteristics. If I could get into a certain other website I'd copy that info and post here...but I'll have to wait until the site becomes available again. Or else wait until I go back to work on Tuesday and repost from there. (Working a fund-raising Casino for our community band on Monday).
     
  2. DrunkIQ

    DrunkIQ Pianissimo User

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    Nov 21, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    There are 3 materials currenlty used:

    Brass Bells:

    These are one Piece!

    Standard wieght Copper bells:

    These can be found on the B5 and B6 models

    Light weight copper bells:

    These are commonly know as the "beryllium bronze" bells. Beryllium bronze is a copper allow that contains berylium.

    Many years ago they did cotain small traces of berylium.

    Beryllium (Symbol: Be) is gray in color, has a high melting point, is non-magnetic, is very malleable, super light, has a good resistance t nitric acid and most importanly it resists oxidation in the air - these are probably the orginal reasons it was used in the metalurgy of this bell since it was designed to be so thin.

    Unfortunantly berylium is toxic and requries certain saftey measures to work with. It taste sweet too, but don't try it!

    I surmise that somtime during the 70's the bells where just made from copper but the name was not altered for name recogintion purposes.

    The bells are super thin - currenlty about 7-9 ounces, back in the day (pre 80's) they where more in the 6-7 range (I have one this light and it is delicate). In the past people have custom ordered these bells to be even ligher - Bill Chase had one that was aourn 6.5 ounces, Faddis has one in the 4.x range!

    I have two - a modern size "A" and an old school size "c". They really make the horn light and flexible.

    Now let's get you some opinions!

    Who out there is using the Schilke "beryllium bronze" bells?

    What year are they from?


    and most importantly...

    What do you think of them?
     
  3. DrunkIQ

    DrunkIQ Pianissimo User

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    Nov 21, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    tootsall - you type fast - thanks for the insight!
     
  4. DrunkIQ

    DrunkIQ Pianissimo User

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    Nov 21, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    Jim Donaldson of the Schilke Loyalist has some excellent info on his web site in regards to this bell and its history:


    to read his informatoin on the other bells visit this link:

    http://www.dallasmusic.org/schilke/Bells, slides and finish.html

    ----------------------------------------------

    All of us Schilke fanatics owe a big thanks to Mr. Donaldson for putting together so much great information on Schilke and it's history.

    For Those of you that have never seen the Schilke loyalist web page, here is a link to the main index:

    http://www.dallasmusic.org/schilke/
     
  5. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    OK...I won't argue with Jim Donaldson; however I'd like to see (hear) input from someone at Anderson plating who is directly involved in the process. As I said in the quote below, metalurgy is a constantly changing science; new blends and changes in blends are possible through computer controls, etc.

    I also said that "ksi" was roughly representative of how "hard" a material is. I'd like to change that to say that "tensile ksi" is representative of how well a material resists tension before permanently deforming. A material with twice the "ksi" as another can be half as thick but still hold the same load "in tension" (which is essentiall how a material fails most of the time).



    Quote:

    These questions forced me to start asking why I hadn't checked some of my engineering books! In my copy of Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers I found a whole mess of stuff on Brass, including the makeup of different types. I haven't got time nor inclination to post the whole four pages of small type, closely spaced table of different "blends", but here are the important ones: (ksi stands for thousand pounds per square inch and is roughly representative of how "hard" the material is).

    Red Brass, copper alloy #230, 85% copper, 15% zinc, tensile strength from 40 to 70 ksi.
    Yellow Brass, copper alloy #270, 65% copper, 35% zinc, tensile strength from 62 to 74 ksi.

    Nothing listed under "gold brass".

    "Low Brass" (I thought this referred to tubas and such), copper alloy #240, 80% copper, 20% zinc, tensile strength from 44 to 74 ksi.

    "Commercial bronze", alloy #220, 90% copper, 10%zinc, tensile strength 37 to 61 ksi.

    And for those who just "gotta know":
    Beryllium copper, copper alloy # 172, 98.1%copper, 2.15% beryllium, tensile strength from 70 to 118 ksi unless heat treated in which case it's up to 180 ksi.
    Unquote.

    To which I would now add that there may be small variations in the "formula" by different material suppliers or in different countries where controls on the use of lead may vary.

    Oh, and of course to mention that the Schilke "Beryllium" bells as well as the old Conn coprion bells are(were) both made by the electrodeposition of an almost pure copper alloy onto a form which was subsequently removed...and which explains why Schilke can get such extremely lightweight, even thickness, but terribly delicate bells.

    Unquote.
     
  6. trptsbaker

    trptsbaker New Friend

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    Jun 23, 2004
    wisconsin
    I have an X3L with the beryllium bell option. I always use the standard yellow brass bell, only because the beryllium bell is so scary sounding. I'm gonna have to light that sucker up on a gig one of these days, just to see what happens, could be fun. Other beryllium bell Schilkes that I have owned didn't sound anything like this, and that includes a gold B6Lb and a B1b. Tom.
     

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