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Hafnium

What Is Hafnium?

Hafnium is a silvery grey, lustrous transition metal. It is ductile, meaning that it can be drawn into thin wires. It is corrosion resistant and has a high melting point. Hafnium does not exist as a free element in nature. It chemically resembles zirconium and is found in zircon compounds which are mined from titanium ores.

What Is Hafnium Used For?

Hafnium has limited applications and is mainly used in control rods of nuclear reactors due to its absorption of neutrons. It is also used in electrodes, filaments, semiconductors and in vacuum tubes. Hafnium is sometimes used with superalloys like titanium, iron, tungsten and niobium as an alloying agent.

Where Is Hafnium Produced?

Major sources of zircon ores are heavy mineral sands ore deposits found in Australia, Malawi, Brazil and the United States. Hafnium is currently mined in these countries as well as in China, Ukraine, South Africa and India.

Did you know? The current demand for hafnium exceeds its supply and it is predicted to be yielded within 10 years.

Conclusion

Hafnium is found within zircon compounds extracted from mineral sand ore deposits like titanium ores. It is a very rare transition metal with limited uses in nuclear reactors, filaments, electrodes, semiconductors, vacuum tubes and as an alloying agent.

The largest producers of hafnium are Australia and South Africa.

If you would like to learn more about minerals and mining visit our Mining and Metals page.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

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