Of The Periodic Table

What is Tantalum, and what is it used for?

Tantalum is the 73rd element in the periodic table, being in the metal range. Its atomic mass is 180.95 and its shortened form is 'Ta'. Tantalum is sometimes used for surgical equipement, because it does not react with body fluids, or irritate the body, which also makes it able to be used to replace joints and be crafted into cranial plates. It can also be used for chemical plants, nuclear power plants, airplants, and of course, missles . It's family member, Tantalum carbide, is one of the hardest substance known , and can be used in very fast-working machine tools to cut through objects quickly and easily.

Who discovered Tantalum? For what was it first used?

Anders Gustaf Ekeberg first discovered the element Tantalum in 1802, but was forced to forget about his discovery when a well known English Chemist called William Wollatson insisted that there had been no discovery, and that the element Anders had found was actually an element called Niobium, which was similar to Tantalum, and actually was discovered in the previous year, 1801. Eventually, in 1846, Heinrich Rose was able to prove that in fact, the elements Niobium and Tantalum were definitely different elements. In 1902, Werner Von Bolton discovered a technique for producing filaments for incandescent lights bulbs made out of tantalum.


  • The elements' name comes from the character Tantalus, of Greek Mythology. Niobe was the daughter of Tantalus, who's name represents the element Niobium, and since Niobium and this new element (Tantalum) were so alike, Anders Gustaf Ekeberg decided to name his new element Tantalum. He also named his element Tantalum because the element was 'tantalizing' to find- another word from the famous Tantalus, which originated from when Tantalus went to an afterlife in Enternal Punishement for comitting a crime, and had to stand under a fruit tree in a lake, but was unable to eat or drink- the food and drink where 'tantalizingly' out of reach!
  • Tantalum comes before the element Tungsten, and after Hafnium.
  • Sometimes is used as a substitute for Platinum- less expensive!
  • Has a high melting point- almost 3,000 !
  • Corrosion resistant and almost fully acid resistant.