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Tantalum
Ta
Atomic weight 180.94788 ± 0.00002 u

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Tantalum

Tantalum

The chemical element tantalum, or Ta, serves many purposes in science and medicine. It is also present in the components of many consumer electrical goods. Its role in electrochemistry is also very important in its inclusion in many electronic consumer goods.

Tantalum has a wide range of properties and applications in its different forms. From soft to brittle, foil to powder, this versatile and rare element is understandably in much demand.

Tantalum is a hard, dark blue-grey coloured transitional metal. These are elements that all share certain characteristic properties due to the number of electrons on the d-shell of their atoms, making them good conductors of heat and electricity.

The most common use for tantalum today is in electronic components, particularly capacitors. This is largely due to its ability to provide a very thin oxide surface layer, or ‘dielectric layer’ in electrochemical processes. This layer is thinner than other metals like aluminium, which makes it much lighter. This allows significant weight savings to be achieved, making tantalum an very appropriate choice for use in mobile technologies and electronics.

It is also one of the refractory metals, which are known for their solid state at room temperature (with the exception of mercury) and melting points above 2000 degrees Celsius. Tantalum has a melting point of 3017 degrees Celsius and a boiling point of 5458 degrees Celsius, higher than copper and nickel, but lower than Tungsten and Rhenium.

Tantalum is also almost impervious to wear and corrosion due to an oxide film on its surface. 

The ceramic Tantalum-carbide is an extremely hard compound that is often used for cutting tools.  In many cases, it is used in preference to Tungsten-carbide.

One of the hardest ceramic materials made so far is tantalum carbide-graphite.

Tantalum’s ductile properties in its pure form make it perfect for drawing out into very fine wire filaments, which can be used for evaporating metals like aluminium.

Along with the element niobium, tantalum is used as a cheaper replacement to platinum, one of the most expensive elements in the world. Despite its use as a substitute to platinum, tantalum is fifteen times less abundant than gold, making up a mere 1.5×10−4% of the Earth’s crust. Much like platinum – and predominantly why it is used as a substitute – tantalum is not affected by most acids, including aqua regia. It does, however, dissolve with hydrofluoric acid. Due to its high tolerance to acids, Tantalum is an ideal material for laboratory vessels and pipes, which are needed to transport corrosive liquids.

In its role as a substitute element, tantalum is commonly used for medical purposes, such as laboratory equipment and dentistry. This can vary from vessels and trays to forceps and utensils.  As the element is also highly acid-resistant and a non-irritant for humans, it is used in medical implants and bone repair.

First found in 1802 by the Swedish chemist Anders Ekeberg, there followed years of debate between scientists as to whether it was a new element or in fact the same as niobium. In 1866 it was finally established that tantalum was an element in its own right, although very similar to niobium. Tantalum wasn’t extracted in its first relatively pure form until 1907 by von Bolton, a German chemist and materials scientist. Tantalum is now used in many modern day products – particularly in capacitors and high power resistors in technology such as video game stations, DVD players, computers and mobile phones. 

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Product line
number
MaterialDimensionsPurityDescription
TA2139Tantalum Foil 0.008 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper as rolled.
TA2145Tantalum Foil 0.025 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper as rolled. Vacuum Melted. Light-Tight.
TA2137Tantalum Foil 0.034 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper as rolled. Vacuum melted. Light-Tight.
TA2146Tantalum Foil 0.050 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted
TA2151Tantalum Foil 0.075 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted
TA2152Tantalum Foil 0.10 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted
TA2147Tantalum Foil 0.125 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted
TA2153Tantalum Foil 0.15 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted
TA2160Tantalum Foil 0.20 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed
TA2140Tantalum Ribbon 0.025 mm (thickness) Purity 99.95%Temper as rolled.
TA2148Tantalum Sheet 0.25 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted
TA2149Tantalum Sheet 0.50 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted
TA2150Tantalum Sheet 1.0 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted. Ground Finish
TA2155Tantalum Sheet 2.0 mm (thickness) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted.
TA5503Tantalum Wire 0.050 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed
TA5504Tantalum Wire 0.125 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper hard - PM Sintered
TA5517Tantalum Wire 0.15 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted
TA5518Tantalum Wire 0.20 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted
TA5505Tantalum Wire 0.25 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed - PM Sintered
TA5508Tantalum Wire 0.40 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed - PM Sintered
TA5506Tantalum Wire 0.50 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted.
TA5515Tantalum Wire 0.75 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed. Vacuum melted.
TA5507Tantalum Wire 1.0 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed - Vacuum Melted
TA5512Tantalum Wire 1.50 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper annealed - Vacuum Melted
TA5510Tantalum Wire 2.0 mm (diameter) Purity 99.95%Temper Annealed - Vacuum Melted
TA5502Tantalum Insulated Wire 0.125 mm (diameter bare wire) Purity 99.9%Bare wire diameter 0.125mm. Temper annealed. Quadruple PTFE insulated. ~ coating thickness 0.025mm. Nominal o.d. of wire 0.175mm
TA5514Tantalum WOVEN Mesh/Gauze 50 mesh per inch Purity 99.85%388/cm sq. Plain weave. Wire diameter 0.075mm. Aperture size 0.43mm Open area ~72%.
TA5509Tantalum Rod 4.0 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper unannealed Finish swaged - Vacuum Melted
TA5511Tantalum Rod 6.0 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper unannealed. Finish swaged - Vacuum Melted
TA5513Tantalum Rod 10.0 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper unannealed. Finish swaged - Vacuum Melted
TA5519Tantalum Rod 20.0 mm (diameter) Purity 99.9%Temper unannealed finish swaged - Vacuum Melted
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