What is the Difference between Beryllium and Aluminium?

The main difference between beryllium and aluminum is their position on the periodic table, which defines their chemical properties: beryllium is an alkaline earth metal (Group 2), while aluminum is a post-transition metal (Group 13).

Difference between Beryllium and Aluminium (With Table)

Aspects Beryllium Aluminium
Chemical Symbol and Atomic Number Symbol Be, Atomic Number 4. Symbol Al, Atomic Number 13.
Group on the Periodic Table Alkaline earth metal (Group 2). Post-transition metal (Group 13).
Density Lower density (1.85 g/cm³). Higher density (2.70 g/cm³).
Melting Point Higher melting point (1287°C). Lower melting point (660.3°C).
Crystal Structure Hexagonal close-packed (hcp). Face-centered cubic (fcc).

What Is Beryllium?

Beryllium is a chemical element with the symbol Be and atomic number 4. Here are some key points about beryllium:

  • Beryllium is a relatively rare element and is the lightest member of the alkaline earth metals group on the periodic table.
  • Beryllium is a steel-gray, strong, lightweight metal.
  • It is brittle at room temperature but becomes ductile and malleable when heated above 400°C.
  • Beryllium is found in the Earth’s crust, primarily as beryl (Be3Al2(SiO3)6), a mineral that also contains aluminum and silicon.
  • It is also found in other minerals such as bertrandite and phenakite.
  • Beryllium is valued for its high stiffness, lightweight, and thermal conductivity.
  • It is used in aerospace and defense industries for lightweight structural components and in alloys to improve strength and thermal stability.
  • It is also used in nuclear reactors, X-ray equipment, and other specialized applications where its unique properties are advantageous.
  • Beryllium and its compounds are toxic and can pose health risks, particularly through inhalation of beryllium dust or fumes.
  • Occupational exposure to beryllium must be carefully monitored and controlled to prevent health problems such as chronic beryllium disease (CBD), an immune response affecting the lungs.
  • Beryllium was discovered in 1798 by French chemist Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin in beryl and emerald.
  • Its isolation as a free element was achieved later in the 19th century.

What Is Aluminium?

Aluminium (or aluminum, as spelled in the United States) is a chemical element with the symbol Al and atomic number 13. Here are some key points about aluminium:

  • Aluminium is a silvery-white, lightweight metal.
  • It belongs to the group 13 (formerly Group IIIA) of the periodic table, which also includes boron, gallium, indium, and thallium.
  • It has an atomic weight of 26.9815 and an atomic radius of about 143 picometers.
  • Aluminium has a relatively low density, about one-third that of steel.
  • It has a melting point of 660.3°C (1220.5°F) and a boiling point of 2467°C (4473°F).
  • Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, making up about 8% by weight.
  • It is usually found in bauxite ore, which is a mixture of hydrated aluminium oxides, iron oxides, titanium dioxide, and silica.
  • Aluminium is widely used due to its low density, corrosion resistance, and ability to be easily shaped through casting, machining, and extrusion.
  • It is used in transportation (automobiles, aircraft, trains), packaging (cans, foils), construction (windows, doors, siding), electrical transmission lines, and consumer goods (appliances, cookware).
  • Aluminium is considered non-toxic in normal doses and is not harmful to humans.
  • However, high levels of aluminium exposure have been linked to health issues such as neurological disorders, though the evidence remains inconclusive.
  • Aluminium was first isolated as a metal by Danish physicist Hans Christian Ørsted in 1825.
  • It was initially more valuable than gold due to the difficulty and expense of its extraction from its ores, until the development of the Hall-Héroult process in 1886 made industrial production economically viable.

Difference between Beryllium and Aluminium

Chemical Symbol and Atomic Number

  • Beryllium: Symbol Be, Atomic Number 4.
  • Aluminium: Symbol Al, Atomic Number 13.

Group on the Periodic Table

  • Beryllium: Alkaline earth metal (Group 2).
  • Aluminium: Post-transition metal (Group 13).


  • Beryllium: Lower density (1.85 g/cm³).
  • Aluminium: Higher density (2.70 g/cm³).

Melting Point

  • Beryllium: Higher melting point (1287°C).
  • Aluminium: Lower melting point (660.3°C).

Crystal Structure

  • Beryllium: Hexagonal close-packed (hcp).
  • Aluminium: Face-centered cubic (fcc).

Abundance in Earth’s Crust

  • Beryllium: Relatively rare.
  • Aluminium: Most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust.


  • Beryllium: Highly toxic, particularly as dust or fumes.
  • Aluminium: Generally considered non-toxic, though high exposure may have health implications.


  • Beryllium: Used in aerospace, defense, nuclear reactors, and specialized electronics due to its stiffness and thermal properties.
  • Aluminium: Widely used in construction, transportation, packaging, and consumer goods due to its low density, corrosion resistance, and ease of fabrication.


  • Beryllium: Very high strength-to-weight ratio.
  • Aluminium: Moderate strength, but enhanced in alloys for various applications.

Corrosion Resistance

  • Beryllium: Forms a protective oxide layer, but less resistant to corrosion compared to aluminium.
  • Aluminium: Highly resistant to corrosion due to its oxide layer.


  • Beryllium: Brittle at room temperature, becomes malleable at higher temperatures.
  • Aluminium: Highly malleable and ductile, easy to form into various shapes.

Electrical Conductivity

  • Beryllium: Low electrical conductivity.
  • Aluminium: High electrical conductivity, used in electrical transmission lines and conductors.

Health Concerns

  • Beryllium: Causes chronic beryllium disease (CBD) and lung cancer upon exposure.
  • Aluminium: Generally considered safe, though concerns exist over neurological effects with high exposure.


  • Beryllium: Expensive due to its rarity and difficult extraction.
  • Aluminium: Relatively affordable due to abundant sources and efficient production methods.

Historical Significance

  • Beryllium: Discovered in 1798, commercially produced in the 20th century for specialized applications.
  • Aluminium: Initially considered a precious metal; industrial production began in the late 19th century, revolutionizing industries with its versatility and abundance.

Similarities between Beryllium and Aluminium

  1. Both beryllium and aluminium are metals.
  2. While beryllium is relatively rare, both metals are naturally occurring and found in the Earth’s crust.
  3. Both metals are lightweight compared to many other metals. Beryllium has a density of 1.85 g/cm³, and aluminium has a density of 2.70 g/cm³.
  4. Both metals are malleable and ductile, allowing them to be easily shaped into various forms.
  5. Both beryllium and aluminium have good electrical conductivity.
  6. Both metals are resistant to corrosion. Beryllium forms a protective oxide layer, and aluminium is highly resistant to corrosion due to its oxide layer.
  7. Both metals have diverse industrial applications due to their unique properties.
  8. Although they have different melting points, both beryllium and aluminium have relatively high melting points compared to some other metals, making them useful in high-temperature applications.
  9. Both metals are highly recyclable, contributing to their sustainability in various industries.
  10. While both metals have health considerations, beryllium is more toxic and requires stringent handling precautions due to its potential to cause chronic beryllium disease (CBD) and other health issues upon exposure.


In conclusion, beryllium and aluminium exhibit distinct differences that stem from their elemental properties, applications, and industrial significance.

Beryllium, as an alkaline earth metal, contrasts sharply with aluminium, a post-transition metal, in terms of density, toxicity, and specific uses. Beryllium’s rarity and high strength-to-weight ratio make it valuable in specialized applications like aerospace and nuclear industries, albeit with significant health risks.

In contrast, aluminium’s abundance, corrosion resistance, and versatility have made it indispensable in everyday products from construction to transportation.

Understanding these differences underscores the unique roles these metals play in modern technology and industrial sectors, each contributing distinct advantages and challenges to their respective fields of application.

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