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Tantalum

Tantalum refractory metal. Tantalum rod Tantalum round bar Tantalum tube Tantalum wireTantalum - refractory gray metal with a weak lead tinge due to the formation of dense oxide film.

Discovery

Tantalum discovered in 1802 by Swedish chemist Ekeberg. Only in 1844 a German chemist Rose proved that the mineral columbite contains two distinct elements - niobium and tantalum.

Ductile metallic tantalum was first obtained by the German scientist W. Boltenom in 1903

The element is named as hero of Greek mythology, Tantalus, because of the difficulty of obtaining it in pure form.

Сontent

There are about 20 actual tantalum minerals - a series of columbite - tantalite, vodzhinit, loparite, manganotantalit and others, as well as more than 60 minerals containing tantalum. All related to the endogenous mineralization. In minerals, tantalum is always together with niobium due to the similarity of their physical and chemical properties. Tantalum - a typical trace element, as isomorphic with many chemical elements. Tantalum deposits are confined to the granite pegmatites, carbonatites and alkaline layered intrusions.

Deposits

The largest deposits of tantalum ores are located in France, Egypt, Thailand and China. Also, there are deposits of tantalum ore in Mozambique, Australia and Nigeria. The world's largest deposit of tantalum ores Grinbushes located in Australia in Western Australia, 250 kilometers south of Perth. 

Physical properties

It has a high melting point - 3017 ° C, the boiling point - 5458 ° C, the color - gray pure steel, the density - 16.6, despite the hardness of plastic, like gold.

Chemical properties

Under normal conditions, tantalum lowacitive, air oxidized only at temperatures above 280 ° C, covered with a protective film. Chemically pure tantalum is extremely resistant to the action of liquid alkali metals, the majority of inorganic and organic acids, as well as many other aggressive environments (except molten alkali).

For chemical resistance to the reagents, tantalum similar to glass. Tantalum is insoluble in acids and their mixtures, it does not dissolve even aqua regia. Soluble only in a mixture of nitric acid plavikovoyi. Reaction with hydrofluoric acid is only with the dust of metal and accompanied by an explosion. Very resistant to sulfuric acid in any concentration and temperature stable in deoxygenated molten alkali metals and their superheated vapors (lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, and cesium).

Receiving

The main raw material for the production of tantalum and its alloys are tantalum loparite and concentrates. Concentrates are decomposed by acids or bases, loparite - chlorinated. Ta and Nb division produced by extraction. Compact metal produce vacuum-arc, plasma melting or by powder metallurgy.

Application

Tantalum originally used for the manufacture of wire for incandescent lamps. Today, tantalum and its alloys are made:

  • heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant alloys;
  • corrosion-resistant equipment for the chemical industry, dies, glassware and crucibles for the production, smelting and casting of rare earth elements and yttrium and scandium;
  • heat exchangers for nuclear energy systems (tantalum most resistant of all metals in superheated melts and cesium vapor);
  • in surgery sheets, foil and wire Tantalum is used to bond tissue, nerves, sutures, prostheses that replace the damaged parts of the bones (due to biological compatibility);
  • tantalum carbide (melting point 3880 ° C) used in the production of hard alloys (a mixture of tungsten carbide and tantalum - the brand with the index CT, heavy metal and impact-rotary drilling of very strong materials (stone, composites);
  • In the manufacture of munitions used to make tantalum metal cladding perspective shaped charges improves armor;
  • Tantalum and niobium are used for the production of electrolytic capacitors of high specific capacitance (tantalum but allows higher quality capacitors);
  • Tantalum is used in recent years as a jewelry metal, due to its ability to form stable surface oxide film of any color.

Beryllides tantalum is extremely hard and resistant to oxidation in air up to 1650 ° C, is used in aerospace engineering.

Tantalum pentoxide is used in nuclear technology for glass melting absorbing gamma radiation.

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