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Tantalum

What Is Tantalum?

Tantalum is a heavy, hard, ductile and dense transitional metal primarily found in the mineral columbite-tantalite. It has a lustrous dark blue-gray appearance and is easily fabricated, and highly conductive of heat and electricity. Tantalum is almost immune to chemical attacks at temperatures below 150°C and it has a very high melting point.

What Is Tantalum Used For?

Tantalum is highly corrosion resistant and is used widely as a minor component in alloys. It is commonly used in electronic components like capacitors for automotive electronics and personal computers.

It is also used in aircraft parts, nuclear reactors, high power resistors and vacuum furnaces. Tantalum oxide is used to make high refraction glass for camera lenses. Tantalum wire is used as a filament for evaporating metals. Tantalum is a hypoallergenic metal and is immune to body fluids so it is widely used in surgical equipment.

Where Is Tantalum Produced?

Australia is the largest producer of tantalum ores. Other tantalum producing countries are China, Mozambique, Brazil, Thailand, Canada, Nigeria and Portugal.

Conclusion

Tantalum is a rare transitional metal found in the mineral columbite-tantalite and is mainly produced in Australia. Tantalum has a variety of uses with its main applications being in alloys and electronic components.

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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