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Tantalum

Tantalum

Release time:23 August 2019
Tantalum

Type
Element (Minerals/Ores of)

Mineral Classification
Oxide

Chemical Formula
(Fe,Mn)(Ta,Nb)2O6

Streak
Brownish-red, to Black

Mohs Hardness
6

Crystal System
Orthorhombic

Color
Black or Brown

Luster
submetallic

Fracture
Subconchoidal

Description

Tantalum (Ta) has a very high melting point (2996°C), exceeded only by that of carbon, tungsten, and rhenium, and is remarkably resistant to attack by air, water and most acids.  Tantalum is a hard, grayish-blue, metallic element.

Relation to Mining

Tantalum is recovered from ore minerals such as columbite and tantalite that are mined in open pits and underground.

Uses

A refractory metal with unique electrical, chemical, and physical properties that is used mostly as tantalum metal powder in the production of electronic components, mainly tantalum capacitors. Because it has such a very high melting point, it is alloyed with other metals to create alloys that are needed for very high temperature applications, such as metal working equipment and jet engine components.

Since tantalum is so resistant to corrosion, it is used to make surgical instruments and medical equipment such as rods to attach to broken bones, skull plates, and wire meshes to help repair nerves and muscles.

Tantalum is also used in camera lenses.

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