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Beryllium Fluoride

Beryllium fluoride (\(BeF_2\)) is a white solid being used as the principal precursor for the manufacture of beryllium metal. The production of beryllium is done by the reduction of\( BeF_2\) at 1300°C with magnesium in a graphite crucible:

\[BeF_2 + Mg \rightarrow Be + MgF_2\]

In order to obtain \(BeF_2\) beryllium ores (mainly bertrandite) are converted into \(Be(OH)_2\). The impure \(Be(OH)_2\) then reacts with ammonium bifluoride to give ammonium tetrafluorberyllate:

\[Be(OH)_2 + 2 (NH_4)HF_2 \rightarrow (NH_4)_2BeF_4 + 2 H_2O\]

Tetrafluorberyllate is a robust ion, which allows its purification by precipitation of various impurities as their hydroxides. Heating purified \((NH_4)_2BeF_4\) gives the desired product:

\[(NH_4)_2BeF_4 \rightarrow 2 NH_3 + 2 HF + BeF_2\]