Tantalum

73
Ta
180.9479

tantalum.jpg (2425 bytes)
Tantalum is used in vacuum tubes.

Properties

Symbol Name Atomic Number Atomic Weight Group Number
Ta Tantalum 73 180.9479 5

Description

Standard State: solid at 298 K
Color: Gray blue

Discovered in 1802 by Ekeberg, but many chemists thought niobium and tantalum were identical elements until Rose, in 1844, and Marignac, in 1866, indicated and 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 is a gray, heavy, and very hard metal.  When pure it is ductile and can be drawn into fine wire, which is used as a filament for evaporating metals such aluminum. 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, and aircraft and missiles parts.