Tantalum Facts

Tantalum Facts
Tantalum (Ta) has an atomic number of seventy-three. It is a blue-gray, very hard metal with the fourth highest melting point of any metallic element.
Interesting Tantalum Facts:
In 1802, Anders Ekeberg of Sweden discovered tantalum.
The year before, the element columbium had been discovered by Charles Hatchett.
In 1809, another scientist, William Hyde Wollaston, compared both discoveries and realized they were both the same element.
Further dispute over the results in 1846 led to the discovery of niobium as well.
Tantalum is highly ductile and highly conductive of both electricity and heat.
It is well known for its ability to resist corrosion by acid, even aqua regia, or the destructive nitrohydrochloric acid.
It is believed that tantalum is found in the Earth's crust between one and two parts per million.
There are a wide variety of minerals that contain tantalum, but only five that are viable for commercial uses at the present: euxenite, microlite, polycrase, tantalite, and wodginite.
Of these minerals, tantalite is the most important for tantalum mining.
Tantalite is almost identical to columbite, the mineral at the center of the early controversy about the element.
When tantalum exceeds niobium in the mineral, it is labeled tantalite; when the niobium content is greater than that tantalum content, the mineral is columbite.
Due to tantalum's high density, gravitational separation is the most common way to extract the element from minerals.
Tantalum has two naturally occurring isotopes, one of which is stable.
Tantalum's unstable isotope, Ta-180m, is the scarcest isotope in the Universe.
Tantalum has been studied as a potential salting agent in nuclear weapons, which would increase the radioactive fallout and affect a wider area.
Through the theoretical tantalum salting, the intensity of the gamma rays to over one million electron-volts each.
Most of the tantalum used commercially is in its powdered form for building electronics.
Tantalum is also widely used as an alloy due to its high melting point and anti-corrosion properties.
Tantalum is also biocompatible, making it used in medical implants and the coatings of implants.

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