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Beryllium Carbide, Be2C

Beryllium Carbide, Be2C, was described by Lebeau as transparent, yellowish-brown, microscopic crystals which scratch quartz and have a density of 1.9 at 15° C. He prepared it by heating beryllia and carbon in an electric furnace. This compound is attacked in the heat by chlorine, bromine, hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen chloride, concentrated sulphuric acid, fused potassium hydroxide, potassium permanganate, lead peroxide, slowly by concentrated nitric and hydrochloric acids, and superficially by oxygen. Contact with water or dilute acids slowly liberates methane.

Lebeau originally assigned to it the formula Be4C3, emphasised its similarity to aluminium carbide, and noted that it pointed to an atomic weight of 13.8 for beryllium. Henry's formula, Be2C, is now accepted.

It reacts with nitrogen at 1250° C. and with ammonia at about 1000° C. -

3Be2C+2N2 = 2Be3N2+3C.

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