The Creation Wiki is made available by the NW Creation Network
Watch monthly live webcast - Like us on Facebook - Subscribe on YouTube


From CreationWiki, the encyclopedia of creation science
Jump to: navigation, search
General Info
Atomic Symbol Atomic symbol::Ta
Atomic Number Atomic number::73
Atomic Weight Atomic weight::180.9 g/mol
Chemical series Transition metals
Appearance gray body-centered cubic
Group, Period, Block 5,6,D
Electron configuration [Xe] 4f14 5d3 6s2
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 11, 2
Electron shell tantalum.png
CAS number CAS number::7440-25-7
Physical properties
Phase Solid
Density Density::16.65 g/ml
Melting point Melting point::3020 °C
Boiling point Boiling point::5560 °C
Isotopes of Tantalum
iso NA half-life DT DE (MeV) DP
177Ta syn 56.56 h ε 1.166 177Hf
178Ta syn 2.36 h ε 1.910 178Hf
179Ta syn 1.82 a ε 0.110 179Hf
180Ta syn 8.125 h ε 0.854 180Hf
180Ta syn 8.125 h β− 0.708 180W
180mTa 0.012% >1.2x1015 y (not observed) ε 0.929 180Hf
180mTa 0.012% >1.2x1015 y (not observed) β− 0.783 180W
180mTa 0.012% >1.2x1015 y (not observed) IT 0.075 180Ta
181Ta 99.988% 181Ta is stable with 108 neutrons.
182Ta syn 114.43 d β− 1.814 182W
183Ta syn 5.1 d β− 1.070 183W
All properties are for STP unless otherwise stated.

Tantalum is a chemical element that is classified as a transition metal in the periodic table of elements. It is a heavy blue-grey metallic appearance known by the chemical symbol Ta . It was first discovered in 1802 by Anders G. Ekeberg and arranged by Jöns Berzelius in 1820. Its name is derived from a Greek mythological character Tantalos, the father of Niobe.

Tantalum ores are usually found in Australia, Brazil, Mozambique, Thailand, Portugal, Nigeria, Zaire, and Canada. Because of its strong endurance, high density and melting point, it is utilized in a number of various industries. Tantalum and Niobium have a lot of chemical properties in common allowing the two to be interchangeable in many cases. Tantalum, which was 200 years ago, has had numerous applications in this world such as a filament for some of the earliest light bulbs. It possesses much potential for continuing to be useful in the scientific and industrial communities. [1]


Physical property:
Tantalum is a transition metal to be gray and shiny in appearance. It consists of 73 electrons, 108 neutrons, and 73 protons. Its atomic weight is 180.94788 g/mol, the atomic radius is 146 pm, and the covalent radius is 138 pm. The density is 16.69 g.cm3 at 20°C. It is a solid whose melting point is 3020 °C and boiling point is 5560 °C. [2] Thirty four isotopes and isomers of tantalum are in known existance.

Electron Shell Configuration:

2s2 2p6
3s2 3p6 3d10
4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14
5s2 5p6 5d3

Chemical property:
Tantalum contains similar chemical properties as niobium. Tantalum is very ductile and immune to chemical attacks or corrosion because of an oxide film on its surface. Also, when it stays in room temperature, it shows a strong resistance to corrosion, therefore, it functions well as a conductor of heat and electricity. However, as the temperature goes above 150°C, tantalum becomes more reactive. It only reacts when affected by hydrofluoric acid and acidic solutions that contains the fluoride ion and free sulfur trioxide. [3] Tungsten and rhenium are the only elements that maintain higher melting points than Tantalum. Because of these characteristics, Tantalum is counted as one of the five major metals with highest resistance to water and heat. The other metals are Tungsten, Molybdenum, Rhenium, and Niobium. Since Tantalum oxide does not dissolve in most cases, it is hardly found in natural water. [4]


Tantalum never occurs freely in nature, it is always with oxygen and other elements. It mostly forms in minerals such as Tantalite, Microlite, and Euxenite. Tantalum ores are known to be mined around the world but only in certain ares. They are found in Australia, Brazil, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Canada, and Portugal. Australia produces the greatest amount of the ores. Tantalite is usually put together with Columbite to form the ore coltan. Recently, researchers have claimed that tantalite is also found in the shores of South England. [5]


Tantalum chunk

Tantalum and Niobium share many similar aspects in property, history and uses. Of these two elements, Niobium was discovered first by an English chemist, Charles Hatchett, in 1801, who discovered this specimen of Niobium at the British Museum in London. He called the element, "Columbium", at first. A Swedish chemist, Anders Gustaf Ekeberg, found a new element and named it "Tantalum" in 1802. He named this element after Tantalus, the son of Jupiter. However, in 1809, William Hyde Wollaston, a British chemist, maintained that Tantalum and Columbium were basically the same elements. This claim was accepted until 1844 when Heinrich Rose proved again these two elements are definitely different by stating their differences in valence states. Rose explained that Columbium contains +3 and +5 states and Tantalum contains just +5 state. Then he changed the name of Columbium to "Niobium" which refers to Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus. [6]


Camera lens

In the electronic industry, Tantalum is very beneficial and important due to its strong resistance to corrosion. Its high melting point and oxidation resistance relates it to producing electrolytic capacitors and vacuum furnace parts, which takes about 60% of its use. Because of its high density and melting point, it helps the armor's penetration ability increase. The metal is also widely used to make chemical equipments, nuclear reactors, and aircraft and missile parts. Tantalum oxide is utilized to make refractive index glass such as camera lenses. [7] In substitution of tantalum, elements such as Niobium, Hafnium, Iridium, Molybdenum, Rhenium and Tungsten can be served for applications that require high-temperature endurance. Aluminum and ceramics can be used for electronic capacitors instead of Tantalum. [8]

Compounds of Tantalum

Hydrides: Ditantalum hydride: Ta2H

Fluorides: Tantalum trifluoride: TaF3

Tantalum pentafluoride: (TaF5)4

Chlorides: Tantalum trichloride: TaCl3

Tantalum tetrachloride: TaCl4

Tantalum pentachloride: TaCl5

Bromides: Tantalum tribromide: TaBr3Subscript text

Tantalum tetrabromide: TaBr4

Ditantalum decabromide: TaBr5

Iodides: Tantalum tetraiodide: TaI4

Tantalum pentaiodide: TaI5

Oxides: Tantalum oxide: TaO

Tantalum dioxide: TaO2

Ditantalum pentoxide: Ta2O5

Sulfides: Tantalum disulphide: TaS2

Selenides: Tantalum diselenide: TaSe2

Tellurides: Tantalum ditelluride: TaTe2

Nitrides: Tantalum nitride: TaN

Carbonyls: Tantalum hexacarbonyl: Ta(CO)6


Tantalum's Name in Other Languages

Latin: Tantalum

Czech: Tantal

Croatian: Tantal

French: Tantale

German: Tantal - r

Italian: Tantalio

Norwegian: Tantal

Portuguese: Tantálio

Spanish: Tántalo

Swedish: Tantal[10]


  1. Tantalum Unknown Author, Chemicool, Accessed on December 01, 2010.
  2. Periodic Table of Elements: Element Tantalum - Ta Kenneth L. Barbalace,, Accessed on December 01, 2010
  3. Tantalum Unknown Author, University of California for the US Department of Energy, December 15, 2003
  4. Tantalum Unknown Author, Lenntech, Accessed on December 01, 2010
  5. Occurrence Unknown Author, The Third Millennium, Accessed on December 02, 2010
  6. History Unknown Author, T.I.C, Accessed on December 01, 2010
  7. Tantalum' uses Unknown Author, Spectrum, Accessed on December 01, 2010
  8. Uses of Tantalum C. Michael Hogan, Mineral Information Institute, August 25, 2008
  9. Compounds of Tantalum Mark Winter, WebElements, Accessed on December 01, 2010
  10. Tantalum's other names Kenneth L. Barbalace,, Accessed on December 01, 2010

Additional Information

  • Basic information Yinon Bentor,, December 01, 2010
  • Facts Unknown Author, Facts-about, Accessed on December 02, 2010