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Tantalum

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Tantalum is one of the rarest elements on earth. This platinum-gray colored metal has a density of 16.6 g/cm3 which is twice as dense as steel. Also, it is highly ductile at high temperatures, very hard and has excellent thermal and electrical conductor properties. Its melting point of 2,996°C is the fourth highest of all metals.

Tantalum is a chemical element with symbol Ta and atomic number 73. Previously known as tantalium, its name comes from Tantalus, a villain from Greek mythology. Tantalum is a rare, hard, blue-gray, lustroustransition metal that is highly corrosion-resistant. It is part of the refractory metals group, which are widely used as minor components in alloys. The chemical inertness of tantalum makes it a valuable substance for laboratory equipment and a substitute for platinum. Its main use today is in tantalum capacitors in electronic equipment such as mobile phones, DVD players, video game systems and computers. Tantalum, always together with the chemically similar niobium, occurs in the minerals tantalite, columbite and coltan (a mix of columbite and tantalite).

A metal with nearly endless potential

With its combination of special physical and chemical properties, tantalum is a key product in many applications:

  • Its ability to form an extremely thin oxide coating which provides a protection layer, makes tantalum the material of choice in the production of small, high quality capacitors
  • Tantalum’s chemical corrosion and high temperature resistance properties provide many benefits to the chemical process industry. For this reason, tantalum is used in the production of reactor coatings, heat exchangers and pipelines
  • In the aerospace and energy industries, tantalum increases the corrosion resistance of alloys in turbine blades
  • Tantalum features a high degree of biocompatibility. For this reason, it is used in medical technology as a radiographic contrast agent and in the production of bone replacement material and implants

A wide variety of tantalum compounds (e.g. tantalum chlorides or lithium tantalates) provide outstanding material properties that are of critical importance for modern, advanced industrial applications:

  • During the production of tool and cutting steels that contain carbides, tantalum and niobium carbide are added to increase performance and stability
  • Manufacturers of optical lenses use tantalum oxides to improve the refractive index of their products allowing for thinner lens profiles

Tantalum Facts:

  • Symbol: Ta
  • Category: Transition Metal
  • Atomic Number: 73
  • Density: 16.69 g / cm3
  • Discovered: 1802

Tantalum Safetly Data Sheet

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