Tantalum is one of the transition metals that has a grayish blue color in its natural solid state. It is resistant to corrosion and conducts heat and electricity well. Tantalum has an atomic weight of 180.94788, a melting point of 5463 °F, and a boiling point of 9856 °F. Tantalum is most commonly used in a powder in the manufacture process of electronic components. It is also used in some metal alloys and super alloys, and as a component on surgical instruments and implants.
Tantalum is not found in its free state in nature, and isolation procedures are needed to extract it from compounds that it occurs in.
Some of the minerals that tantalum is found in include euxenite, microlite, and tantalite. It also occurs in columbite in the ore coltan. The isolation process of tantalum is complex as it often occurs with niobium; the similar chemical traits of these elements makes extraction difficult and impossible to perform in a small laboratory. Commercial reduction, extraction, and isolation of tantalum from niobium involves several steps.
During tantalum isolation processing, the ore is first fused with an alkali; the resulting tantalum compound is extracted using a mixture of hydrofluoric acid. The acidic solution that is formed undergoes a liquid-liquid extraction process in order to extract tantalum salts into a ketone complex named MIBK; this extraction process removes tantalum from the niobium as niobium remains in the solution. The tantalum compound is then converted into an oxide and reduced through sodium or carbon. Tantalum is also often isolated as a by product from tin processing using smelting.
Print this page
Bookmark this page
about us |
link to us |
usage agreement |
Copyright 2007, Sciencefairadventure.com. All Rights Reserved.