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Tantalum is a chemical element that has atomic number 73. It has an atomic mass of 180.947 g/mol and it is represented by the symbol Ta. Tantalum is a d-block element. In the periodic table, it is in group 5 and period 6. The electronic configuration of Tantalum is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d10 5s2 5p6 4f14 5d3 6s2. In an electrically neutral atom of tantalum, there are 73, protons, 73 electrons and 108 neutrons. The oxidation states of tantalum are −3, −1, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5 and its electronegativity is 1.5 (Pauling scale). Tantalum has two naturally occurring isotopes and thirty-five known artificial radioisotopes.
Tantalum is blue-grey in colour. It is hard and lustrous with high corrosion resistance. At STP it is solid and has a density of 16.69 g/cm3. Its melting point is 3290 K ?(3017 °C, ?5463 °F) and its boiling point is 5731 K ?(5458 °C, ?9856 °F). It has a high conductivity of heat and electricity. Tantalum is immune from corrosion of acid even aqua regia at a temperature below 150 °C. It exists in two crystalline phases, alpha and beta.
Tantalum was discovered by Swedish chemist Anders Gustaf Ekeberg in 1802.
Tantalum is has a concentration of about 1-2 ppm of the earth's crust. It is found in groups of minerals along with other rare metals. It is present in ores like microlite, tantalite, wodginite, euxenite Coltan and polycrase. The main producers are Australia, Rwanda, China and Brazil etc.
Due to its high melting point, it is used in industries as thermowell to protect instruments and electronics. Tantalum alloy is used in jet components, nuclear reactors, missile parts, heat exchangers, tanks, vessels, etc. It is also used in electronic components such high power resistors and capacitors.
It is found in different groups of minerals along with other rare metals. It is present in ores like microlite, tantalite, wodginite, euxenite Coltan and polycrase. The main producers are Australia, Rwanda, China and Brazil etc.