Tantalum – Where Would Our World Be Without This Rare Technical Metal?

Tantalum a Rare Technical / Strategic Metal named after a Greek mythological figure, Tantalus. Tantalus stole from the temple of Zeus and was punished with, ¨Eternal Torment¨, for his wrong doings. Anders Gustaf Ekeberg, who discovered Tantalum in 1801 in Finland, named the very stable metal this because it must, ¨Languish in pain and not quench its thirst¨, as did Tantalus in the underworld.

The modern world would languish in pain if Tantalum were absent. It was used to light up entire cities in the past as Tantalum the element was used in the manufacturing of filaments for light bulbs before Tungsten took over its application. Could you imagine if your cell phone was still the, ¨Brick Phone¨, of 80´s fame? What if you had to have a truck to carry your personal computer around with you? Could you imagine a 60¨ Inch CRT TV? Do you like that portable GPS system? How about those large hearing aids?

Today, this Rare Technical / Strategic metal is used in many applications. In fact our modern 21st Century society would not be the same without Tantalum. Do you remember the 1970´s? Tantalum capacitors are small, powerful and suitable for high-frequency ranges. Every electronic device around you uses Tantalum capacitors. Tantalum has also made it possible for long term medical implants because it is non-toxic and does not react with body fluids. This rare metal is also used as a high temperature alloy in aircraft turbines because of its high melting point. Tantalum Plate is used in manufacturing superalloys and electron-beam melting. Used in metallurgical, machinery processing, glass, and ceramic industries.

Currently the amount of Tantalum mined is approximately 1,160 tons annually. Capacitors alone use up 551 tons of the annual production. By the year 2030, the amount needed for capacitors will rise to an estimated 1410 tons. Do you see what I see? The future needs of Tantalum far outweigh the current amount mined. A few years ago Tantalum became known as a conflict metal because of its illegal mining in the Congo. Currently most of its production is coming out of Australia with Brazil and Canada a distant second and third.

Leave a Reply