News: Oct 2021

Why Should I Use Tantalum in Corrosive Environments?

Refractory metals are metallic elements that exhibit properties that make them more durable than other metals. For example, they can demonstrate corrosion resistance, thermal and electrical conductivity, and deformation resistance. These characteristics make them ideal for use in highly demanding applications and environments. One example of refractory metals is tantalum, which is prized for its excellent resistance to corrosion. 

What Is Tantalum?

Tantalum is among the most corrosion-resistant of the refractory metals. It possesses a protective oxide layer that is extremely difficult to remove, even when it is exposed to strong and hot acid environments. This layer results in a material with a non-detectable corrosion rate, which essentially means it cannot corrode. For this reason, it is commonly used in the fabrication of the following components:  

Heat Exchanger and Column, Heat Exchanger Gas separation plant, power plant.

  • Columns
  • Condensers
  • Heat exchangers
  • Helical coils
  • Pipe Stools
  • Reactors
  • Valve linings

Tantalum in Highly Corrosive Environments

Due to its unique characteristics, tantalum is ideal for parts and products used in highly corrosive environments. Its resistance to corrosion and inertness with most acids enable it to withstand long-term use within them. Since it is not damaged or degraded by acids, it can remain in contact with the media for extended periods. 

The material is often used for equipment for the chemical processing and pharmaceutical industries since they generally involve hot and highly corrosive environments. It can stand up to exposure to hot, concentrated acids, like hydrochloric acid (HCI) or sulfuric acid (H2SO4). Other industries that use it include aerospace, electronics, medical, steel finishing, and tooling.

Tantalum Products From ADMAT

Tantalum is an ideal material choice for applications where long-term corrosion resistance is critical. If you’re looking for a reliable supplier of tantalum products, ADMAT has got you covered. We’ve provided refractory metals, including tantalum, in various forms for over 20 years. This vast experience has allowed us to fully understand the importance and benefits of specialty materials, which is why we are committed to providing our customers the highest quality products. They find use in a range of industrial applications since they are compliant with many industry standards.

We offer the following tantalum products

tantalum rod

  • Sheet/plate
  • Rod
  • Bar
  • Wire
  • Tube
  • Strip
  • Foil
  • Sinter bar
  • Powder
  • Oxide
  • Grain stabilized
  • Sputtering target
  • Spring wire

To learn more about tantalum in general or our tantalum products, contact us today. For specific product or pricing details, request a quote.

The Characteristics and Manufacturing Process of Tantalum and Niobium

Tantalum and niobium are transition metals that are commonly found together in nature. They are often difficult to separate from one another due to their similarities in physical and chemical characteristics. In fact, when tantalum was first discovered in 1802, it was confused with niobium, which was discovered much earlier in 1734. It was not recognized as a separate element until 1864. 

While the two materials have many shared properties, there are some key differences between them. Below we highlight each material’s unique characteristics and manufacturing process.

The Characteristics and Manufacturing Process of Tantalum

Tantalum is a dark blue-gray metal that is hard, dense, and ductile. It is also easily fabricated, highly conductive to electricity and heat, and exceptionally resistant to corrosion.

Since tantalum is often found with niobium, it must undergo a separation process before it can be further refined and used. This process involves treating the ore with a mixture of hydrofluoric acid and sulfuric acid at elevated temperatures, which dissolves the tantalum and niobium into complex fluorides. Since other elements are generally present within the ore, the slurry is first filtered and then further processed using a solvent extraction process that uses methyl isobutyl ketone or a liquid ion exchange process that uses an amine extractant in kerosene. The result is a highly purified solution of tantalum, which can be turned into tantalum oxide (Ta2O5) or potassium tantalum fluoride (K2TaF7) as needed.

The Characteristics and Manufacturing Process of Niobium

Niobium—initially known as columbium—is a lustrous gray metal with a high melting point and low density. It is highly ductile and superconductive. 

There are two main processes used for niobium production. They are utilized depending on whether pyrochlore or columbite and tantalum-bearing ores are being processed. 

99.95% fine niobium isolated on white background

  • Pyrochlore ores undergo a process that converts the niobium oxide into HSLA ferroniobium. The conversion is performed either through an aluminothermic reduction process or by reduction in an electric arc furnace. 
  • Columbite and tantalum-bearing ores undergo the same chemical process outlined in the above section. Typically ammonia is introduced to the purified solution of niobium to convert it into niobium hydroxide. The resulting compound is then washed, filtered, and calcined. 

Learn More About Tantalum and Niobium From the Experts at ADMAT

Want to learn more about tantalum and niobium? Ask the experts at ADMAT! As a leading supplier of refractory metals, including tantalum and niobium, we can answer and address any questions or concerns you may have about these materials. If you want to purchase these metals for your next project, request a quote.