Tantalum is a Chemical element with the symbol Ta and the atomic number 73
Purple-gray, steel-hard (Vickers hardness: 60 – 120 HV), high-melting heavy metal, which resembles niobium in most of its properties. With a melting point of around 3000 ° C, tantalum has the highest melting point of all elements after tungsten, carbon and rhenium. Below a crack temperature of 4.3 Kelvin, tantalum becomes a super conductor. Pure tantalum is ductile and can be extensively stretched (tensile strength: 240 MPa)
This is a base metal and reacts with most non-metals at high temperatures. Tantalum oxide has a high permittivity, which also increases the capacity. At room temperature, the metal is protected by tantalum oxide and thus passivated.
Most of the production is used for the production of capacitors with high capacitance. The mineral element electrolytic capacitors are used in microelectronics, for example mobile phones, and the automotive industry. It is non-toxic and does not react with body fluids, so it is very well used in medicine. It is used in the manufacture of implants and medical instruments. Examples would be: bone nails, prostheses, clamps and jaw screws. In the chemical industry, tantalum is used as a lining material for reaction vessels, heat exchangers and pumps. Superalloys in the construction of aircraft and turbines also contain tantalum.
Tantalum is a rare 2ppm (parts per million) element found on Earth. It does not exist in the solid state, but in its combination in minerals. Because of their similarity, tantalum ores also contain niobium. The most important minerals are those of the Columbite and Tapiolite series. Also known as coltan.This alloy rich columbites are also called tantalites. Examples of these tantalum-containing minerals are ferrotapiolite and manganotantalite, which are called coltan.
The main producing countries for this ores are Brazil and Australia. Coltan is also found in Nigeria and Congo. The Congo conflict, which was funded by the minerals, has given these industrial minerals the nickname “conflict minerals”. Nigeria is not affected by these problems. The coltan occurs predominantly in Plateau State, which is located in central Nigeria and is mined by locals in the form of small-scale mining.