Define/Demonstrate Beryllium (Be) Substitute Material
Agency / Branch:
DOD / MDA
Beryllium is an elemental metal that is used as a pure metal, alloying element, and oxide ceramic. Its main uses are for mirror systems, structural and electrical beryllium-copper alloy, and microchip substrates, respectively. Beryllium also causesdeadly chronic beryllium disease, which occurs in 1 to 10% of personnel exposed to beryllium containing dust. Although dust is controllable in manufacturing facilities, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and other DoD activities must deal with thecradle-to-grave liabilities including in-service dust production and final disposal- much more difficult tasks. With an expected future unavailability of beryllium, suitable substitutes must be found. Fortunately, the toxicity of beryllium has driven asignificant substitute market. TRI/Austin will identify the most defense-critical and the greatest volume uses of beryllium containing materials, then determine the properties required by these applications. TRI will then identify substitute materialsthat have and have not already been identified previously. TRI will then examine properties, toxicity, manufacturing, and cost issues of these materials to determine the overall best replacement materials for each specific application. TRI willincorporate its unique experience replacing lead in U.S. Army bullets with a tungsten/nylon composite to carry out this challenging task. The successful identification of beryllium substitutes will result in the ability of the MDA to eliminate theliability caused by continued use of toxic beryllium-containing materials. The MDA has taken a leadership role in industry by establishing a cradle-to-grave mentality when procurement decisions are made. The cost of any item does not merely consist ofthe purchase price of an item, but in all the social and economic costs involved in the production, use, and disposal of that item. Continued use of beryllium has been determined to be a liability that the MDA is no longer willing to accept, and this workwill enable that decision to be carried out with minimal impact.
Small Business Information at Submission:
TEXAS RESEARCH INSTITUTE AUSTIN, INC.
9063 Bee Caves Road Austin, TX 78733
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