Tantalum

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Attribution: Alchemist-hp

Animated Tantalum

History

Named after Tantalos, a Greek a mythological character, father of Niobe. Discovered in 1802 by Ekeberg, but many chemists thought niobium and tantalum were identical elements until Rowe in 1844, and Marignac, in 1866, showed that niobic and tantalic acids were two different acids. The early investigators only isolated the impure metal. The first relatively pure ductile tantalum was produced by von Bolton in 1903. Tantalum occurs principally in the mineral columbite-tantalite.

Sources

Tantalum ores are found in Australia, Brazil, Mozambique, Thailand, Portugal, Nigeria, Zaire, and Canada.

Uses

Scientists at Los Alamos have produced a tantalum carbide graphite composite material, which is said to be one of the hardest materials ever made. The compound has a melting point of 3738°C. Tantalum is used to make electrolytic capacitors and vacuum furnace parts, which account for about 60% of its use. The metal is also widely used to fabricate chemical process equipment, nuclear reactors, aircraft, and missile parts. Tantalum is completely immune to body liquids and is a nonirritating material. It has, therefore, found wide use in making surgical appliances. Tantalum oxide is used to make special glass with high index of refraction for camera lenses. The metal has many other uses.

General Info

AtomicNumber
73
Symbol
Ta
Name
Tantalum

Atomic Info

Appearance
AtomicWeight
180.94788(2)
Color
4DA6FF
ElectronicConfiguration
[Xe] 4f14 5d3 6s2
ElectronegativityInPauling
1.5
AtomicRadiusInPM
138
IonRadiusInPM
72 (+3)
VanDerWaalsRadiusInPM
IEinKJmol
761
EAinKJmol
-31
OxidationStates
-1, 2, 3, 4, 5
StandardState
solid
BondingType
metallic
MeltingPoint
3290
BoilingPoint
5731
Density
16.65
State
Transition metal
DiscoveredYear
1802