5 physical properties of tantalum
Facts about Tantalum: Applications & Uses
It is a highly stable metal that is almost immune to chemicals.
Like most metals, tantalum forms a thin but dense protective oxide layer (Ta2O5) when In terms of mechanical properties, tantalum is highly ductile.
Tantalum (Ta) is an unsung hero in modern metallurgy.
First discovered by the Swedish chemist Anders Ekeberg in 1802, this versatile metal has become essential to numerous industries over the years.
Raw tantalum rarely occurs in nature.
Instead, it is typically found in the ore columbite-tantalite (usually referred to as coltan).
Once extracted, pure tantalum is a hard blue-gray lustrous metal.
Since its discovery, tantalum has been used in a number of applications.
In the 21st century, it has become a crucial element in the electronics industry, with over 75% of electronics containing tantalum in some form.
In particular, engineers have been able to take advantage of some of the tantalum’s properties to make capacitors and other components smaller and more efficient.
Properties of Tantalum
Tantalum has several unique characteristics that have led to its increased use in the 21st century.
It is a highly stable metal that is almost immune to chemical degradation at temperatures lower than 302 °F (159 °C).
In addition, it exhibits high levels of corrosion resistance when it comes into contact with air and moisture.
Like most metals, tantalum forms a thin but dense protective oxide layer (Ta2O5) when exposed to the atmosphere.
This oxide layer firmly adheres to the surface of the metal, acting as a barrier that protects the underlying metal from further corrosion.
Tantalum belongs to a class of metals known as refractory metals, which are defined by their strong resistance to heat and wear.
It has a melting point of 5,463 °F (2,996 °C), the fourth-highest of all metals.
In terms of mechanical properties, tantalum is highly ductile, making it suitable for processes such as bending, stamping, and pressing.
When combined with other metals, it can produce alloys with enhanced strength and higher melting points.
Common Uses of Tantalum
Tantalum is generally used in applications that require increased heat, corrosion, and chemical resistance.
Below is a list of the commonly available forms of tantalum and their most common uses.
Sheet/Plate – Tantalum’s high melting point makes it ideal for high-temperature applications.
In sheet form, it is commonly used in linings for columns, vessels, tanks, heat exchangers, and vacuum furnace parts.
Thin sheets can also be used for anti-corrosion cladding, repairs, and reinforcement of existing
In other words, it is a nonirritating element that is not affected by bodily fluids.
This property makes tantalum wires a popular material for prosthetic implants and other medical devices.
In addition, tantalum wires are commonly used in vacuum furnace heating elements, chlorinator springs, light bulb elements, and chemical processing equipment.
Powder – In its powder form, tantalum is used to produce electrical circuits, capacitors, and resistors, primarily because its superior capacitance allows it to hold more charge per gram than other materials.
This has made it possible to develop smaller electrical parts and, by extension, smaller electrical devices.
Tube – Because of their heightened resistance to corrosion, tantalum tubes are often employed in the chemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical industries for the processing of compounds that may weaken or destroy other metals.
Columns, stacks, and piping are just some of the products constructed from tantalum tubing in these industries.
Strips and foils – Similar to sheets, tantalum strips, and foils can be used as liners in vacuum furnaces and heat insulation applications.
Thin-gauge tantalum strips can also be deep drawn to manufacture crucibles, cups, and other inert laboratory equipment.
Tantalum Physical & General Properties
Atomic Number: 73
Atomic Symbol: Ta
Atomic Weight: 180.94788
Melting Point: 5,462.6 F (3,017 C)
Boiling Point: 9,856.4 F (5,458C)
Word origin: Tantalum is named after a Greek mythological character, Tantalos.
Discovery: Tantalum was discovered by Anders Ekeberg in 1802.
It was thought tantalum and niobium were identical elements until Rowe in 1844, and Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac, in 1866 showed they were different acids.
Sources of tantalum
Tantalum occurs naturally in the mineral columbite-tantalite.
It’s mainly found in Australia, Brazil, Mozambique, Thailand, Portugal, Nigeria, Zaire, and Canada.
Separating tantalum from niobium requires either electrolysis, reduction of potassium fluorotantalate with sodium or reacting the carbide with oxide.
Natural tantalum contains two isotopes while twenty-five isotopes are known to exist.
Uses of tantalum
Tantalum is used in a variety of alloys to add high strength, ductility, and a high melting point.
When drawn into a fine wire, it’s used as a filament for evaporating metals such as aluminum.
More than half of tantalum’s use is for electrolytic capacitors and vacuum furnace parts.
The element is also used to make chemical process equipment, nuclear reactors, aircraft, and missile parts.
Tantalum has found use in making surgical appliances because it’s completely immune to body liquids.
Tantalum oxide is used to make special glass with a high index of refraction for items such as camera lenses.
The Element Tantalum - Basic Physical and Historical Information.
What's in a name? Named for the Greek mythological figure Tantalus.
Say what? Tantalum is pronounced as TAN-te-LEM.
History and Uses:
Tantalum was discovered by Anders Gustaf Ekenberg, a Swedish chemist, in 1802 in minerals obtained from Ytterby, Sweden.
Many scientists believed that he had only discovered an allotrope of niobium, an element that is chemically similar to tantalum.
The issue was finally settled in 1866 when, Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac, a Swiss chemist, proved that tantalum and niobium were two distinct elements.
The first relatively pure samples of tantalum were first produced in 1907.
Today, tantalum is primarily obtained from the minerals columbite ((Fe, Mn, Mg)(Nb, Ta)2O6), tantalite ((Fe, Mn)(Ta, Nb)2O6) and euxenite ((Y, Ca, Er, La, Ce, U, Th)(Nb, Ta, Ti)2O6).
Tantalum is a strong, ductile metal that is nearly immune to chemical attack at room temperatures.
It can be drawn into a fine wire that is used to evaporate metals, such as aluminum.
It has a high melting point and is frequently used as a substitute for platinum, which is more expensive.
Tantalum is used to make components for chemical plants, nuclear power plants, airplanes, and missiles.
Tantalum does not react with bodily fluids and is used to make surgical equipment.
Tantalum also does not irritate the body and is used to make surgical sutures as well as implants, such as artificial joints and cranial plates.
Tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5), one of the tantalum's compounds, is a dielectric material and is used to make capacitors.
It is also used to make a glass with a high index of refraction that is used in camera lenses.
A composite consisting of tantalum carbide (TaC) and graphite is one of the hardest materials known and is used on the cutting edges of high-speed machine tools.
Estimated Crustal Abundance: 2.0 milligrams per kilogram
Estimated Oceanic Abundance: 2×10-6 milligrams per liter
Number of Stable Isotopes: 1 ( View all isotope data )
Ionization Energy: 7.89 eV
Tantalum (Ta) - Properties, Applications
Tantalum is a chemical element with Ta as its symbol.
It belongs to group 5, periodic number 6 of the periodic table.
Its atomic number is 73.
Thermal neutron cross-section: 21.3 barns/atom
Electrode potential: 4.1 V
CAS number: 7440-25-7
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