Tantalum is a blue gray very hard metal that has the fourth highest melting point of metallic elements. It was discovered in 1802 by the Swedish scientist Anders Ekberg. It was also discovered by Charles Hatchett who called it Columbium. It is vey rare in the earth’s crust and is found in a variety of minerals, the most important being Tantalite. Tantalums isotope Ta-180 is one of the rarest in the universe. Most Tantalum is used for powdering on electronic equipment and also as an alloy for its anti corrosion properties. It is a solid metal at room temperature with a melting point of 3017°c and a boiling point of 5457°c.
Often used as an economical substitute for platinum. Tantalum pentoxide is used in capacitors and in camera lenses to increase refracting power. It and its alloys are corrosion and wear resistant so it is used to make surgical and dental tools.
Chiefly occurs in the mineral tantalite. Always found with niobium.