Encyclopedia of Geochemistry

1999 Edition
| Editors: Clare P. Marshall, Rhodes W. Fairbridge


  • A. M. R. Neiva
  • Paul R. Dixon
  • David B. Curtis
  • Vidojko Jović
  • Scott M. McLennan
  • Peter van Calsteren
  • Mitchell Schulte
  • Patrick K. Gallagher
  • Christophe Falguéres
  • H. C. Weed
  • S. Krishnaswami
  • François Farges
  • Roger L. Nielsen
  • Austin Long
  • John C. Groen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-4496-8_19


Tantalum was discovered in 1802 and named after the Greek mythological hero Tantalus. In 1844, it was reported that two similar elements, tantalum and niobium, were obtained from columbite (Fe,Mn)(Nb,Ta)2O6. In 1866, these two elements were separated. Tantalum is a gray, body-centered cubic metallic element, with atomic number 73 and atomic weight 180.948. It has two natural isotopes 180 and 181, the latter being the more abundant. The electronic configuration of tantalum is [Xe]4f143d36s2, with common valence of 5+. Its ionic radius for coordination number 6 is 0.72 Å and electronegativity, 1.5. Tantalum has similar chemical properties to those of niobium. Its boiling point is 5425°C. It is a refractory metal, with a high melting point of 2996°C, and is resistant to corrosion. Tantalum is mainly used in electronics and optics (50%) and in cemented carbides or as an allyoing additive in superalloys (30–40%). Ta-dominant minerals (e.g. tantalite-columbite, wodginite,...


Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry Tungsten Content Nonbridging Oxygen Tritium Unit Bulk Silicate Earth 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. R. Neiva
  • Paul R. Dixon
  • David B. Curtis
  • Vidojko Jović
  • Scott M. McLennan
  • Peter van Calsteren
  • Mitchell Schulte
  • Patrick K. Gallagher
  • Christophe Falguéres
  • H. C. Weed
  • S. Krishnaswami
  • François Farges
  • Roger L. Nielsen
  • Austin Long
  • John C. Groen

There are no affiliations available