Tantalum Wire and Rod

tantalum wire tantalum rod



Tantalum (Ta) is the 73rd element on the periodic chart. Formerly known as tantalium, the name is derived from Tantalus, a mythological Greek figure, known for his eternal punishment in which he stood in a pool of water, always receding before he could bend and take a drink, and beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit ever eluding his grasp.

Tantalum was discovered in Sweden in 1802 by Anders Ekeberg, but one year earlier, Charles Hatchett had unknowingly discovered Tantalum when he unearthed another element columbium. In 1809, English chemist William Wollaston, compared the oxides derived from both columbium and columbite and concluded that the two oxides, were identical, despite their difference in measured density and kept the name tantalum. Other scientists confirmed these results and it was thought that columbium and tantalum were the same element. Disputing this conclusion in 1846, German chemist Heinrich Rose, argued that there were two additional elements in the tantalite sample, and he named them after the children of Tantalus: niobium (from Niobe, the goddess of tears), and pelopium (from Pelops). The supposed element "pelopium" was later identified as a mixture of tantalum and niobium, and it was found that the niobium was identical to the columbium already discovered in 1801 by Hatchett.

In 1866, Swiss chemist Jean de Marignac proved that there were only two elements. De Marignac was the first to produce the metallic form of tantalum in 1864, when he reduced tantalum chloride by heating it in an atmosphere of hydrogen. Early investigators had been only able to produce quantities of impure tantalum, and Werner von Bolton was the first person to produce relatively pure ductile metal in 1903.

Tantalum is quite rare and is known as a hard, blue-gray, lustrous transition metal. Now easily fabricated, its characteristics include very efficient conductivity of heat and electricity, is highly resistant to corrosion and has a very high melting point of 3017 °C (boiling point 5458 °C) exceeded only by tungsten, rhenium and osmium for metals, along with carbon. Hydrofluoric acid can be used to dissolve the material. Tantalum ores often contain significant amounts of niobium, which itself is a highly valuable element requiring extraction of both metals in order they may be marketed.

The largest production of tantalum is mined in Australia. However, other countries such as China, Ethiopia, and Mozambique mine ores with a higher percentage of tantalum, therefore, producing a significant percentage of the world's output. Thailand and Malaysia also produce Tantalum as a by-product of the tin mining. Future sources of supply of tantalum are being discovered in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Canada, the U.S., Greenland and Brazil.


Tantalum is part of the refractory metals group, which are minor components in the alloy sector. Tantalum’s chemical inertness makes it a valued material for laboratory equipment and can be used in place of platinum. Today’s main use is for tantalum capacitors in electronics.

Because of its ductility, tantalum can be drawn into fine wires or filaments, which are used for evaporating metals such as aluminum. In 1903. Tantalum wire, made with metallic tantalum, was used for light bulb filaments until tungsten replaced it in widespread use.

Tantalum is also used to produce a variety of alloys that have high melting points, are strong and have good ductility. Alloyed with other metals, it is also used in making carbide tools for metalworking equipment and in the production of super-alloys for jet engine components, chemical process equipment, nuclear reactors, and missile parts.

Tantalum is inert against most acids except hydrofluoric acid and hot sulfuric acid, also hot alkaline solutions cause tantalum to corrode. This property makes it an ideal metal for chemical reaction vessels and pipes for corrosive liquids. Heat exchanging coils for the steam heating of hydrochloric acid are made from tantalum. Tantalum was extensively used in the production of ultra-high frequency electron tubes for radio transmitters.

The high melting point and oxidation resistance lead to the use of the metal in the production of heating elements (rods) in vacuum furnaces. Tantalum is extremely inert and is therefore formed into a variety of corrosion resistant parts, such as thermowells, valve bodies, and tantalum fasteners.

Due to its high density, shaped charge and explosively formed penetrator liners have been constructed from tantalum. Tantalum greatly increases the armor penetration capabilities of a shaped charge due to its high density and high melting point.

Tantalum is also highly bio-inert and is used as an orthopedic material making it useful for prosthetic hip implants. Because tantalum is non-magnetic, these implants are considered to be acceptable for patients undergoing MRI procedures.


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Atomic Number:


Atomic Weight:



16.654 gm/cc

Melting Point:

2996 oC

Boiling Point:

5425 oC

Thermal Conductivity:

0.575 W/cm/K @ 298.2 K

Electrical Resistivity:

12.45 microhm-cm @ 0 oC


1.5 Paulings

Specific Heat:

0.0334 Cal/g/K @ 25 oC

Heat of Vaporization:

180 K-Cal/gm atom at 5425 oC

Heat of Fusion:

7.5 Cal/gm mole



Material Safety Data Sheet - MSDS

Tantalum MSDS

Technical Data Sheets


Tantalum Machining

Tantalum-Tungsten 2.5%

Understanding Mesh Sizes

Home Page Content Under Periodic Table


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