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The Element Tantalum


"The Atom"

Definition of the Tantalum Element
A very hard, heavy, gray metallic element that is exceptionally resistant to chemical attack below 150C. It is almost immune to chemical attack at temperatures below 150 C.

Tantalum is virtually resistant to corrosion due to an oxide film on its surface. It is used to make light-bulb filaments, electrolytic capacitors, lightning arresters, nuclear reactor parts, and some surgical instruments.

The element has a melting point exceeded only by Tungsten and rhenium. Tantalum has the most capacitance per volume of any substance. The Atomic Number of this element is 73 and the Element Symbol is Ta.

The Properties of the Tantalum Element
Symbol of Element : Ta
Atomic Number: 73
Atomic Mass: 180.9479 amu
Melting Point: 2996.0 C - 3269.15 K
Boiling Point: 5425.0 C - 5698.15 K
Number of Protons/Electrons: 73
Number of Neutrons: 108
Crystal Structure: Cubic
Density @ 293 K: 16.654 g/cm3
Color of Tantalum : gray

Origin / Meaning of the name Tantalum
The name originates from King Tantalus, the father of Niobe, in Greek mythology. Tantalus was banished to Hades where he was placed up to his chin in water, which receded whenever he tried to drink it and under branches of fruit, which drew back whenever he tried to pick their fruit. This name was selected because of the insoluability of tantalum in acids, thus when placed in the midst of acids it is incapable of taking any of them up.

Periodic Table Group and Classification of the of the Tantalum Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Tantalum is classified as a "Transition Metal" which are located in Groups 3 - 12 of the Periodic Table. Elements classified as Transition Metals are generally described as ductile, malleable, and able to conduct electricity and heat. Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals which are detailed in the List of Metals.

Facts about the History and the Discovery of the Tantalum Element
Tantalum was discovered by Anders Ekeberg in 1802. The element was isolated in 1820 by Jons Berzelius. The first relatively pure ductile metal was produced  in 1903 by Werner von Bolton.

History of the Periodic Table
Check out the brief History of the Periodic Table which details dates and the names of famous scientists and chemists who contributed to the development of the Periodic Table.

Occurrence of the Tantalum Element
Obtained from the minerals tantalite, euxenite, samarskite, and fergusonite
Mined in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Africa, Portugal, and Thailand.

Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 810-9%
% in Sun N/A
% in Meteorites 210-6%
% in Earth's Crust 0.00017%
% in Oceans 210-10%
% in Humans N/A

Associated Uses of Tantalum
Electronic components - Capacitors
Automotive electronics
Jet engine components
Chemical process equipment
Nuclear reactors
Camera lenses
Portable telephones
Personal computers
Surgical appliances
Tantalum pentachloride

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