Tantalum was first discovered in 1802 by Swedish scientist Anders Ekeberg, who the scientific community believed to be wrong for over 40 years before conclusive proof could be gathered that the element was different from the closely-related Niobium.
Named for Tantalus, a villain from Greek mythology, tantalum is a hard, dark-coloured metal with an extremely high melting point and an incredible resistance to corrosion. When used as the pure element, tantalum is a crucial component in bone implants and surgical equipment, as it is hardwearing, easy to shape and completely biologically inert. Pure tantalum is also vital in the production of chemical purification equipment, petrochemical industry components and furnaces, where its corrosion resistance will allow it to perform in situations which would destroy other metals.
Tantalum rods are commonly used as the blanks from which these surgical tools, chemical valves and pump components are machined – but they are also a crucial component in alloys. Superalloys, like those used in spacecraft, jet turbines, nuclear reactors and other extremely high-end engineering, are almost always made with tantalum as a primary component, adding the high melting point, corrosion resistance and hardness of tantalum to the finished alloy. Tantalum rods are one of the most convenient ways to incorporate tantalum into these high-tech alloys: easy to store and able to be cut to length to include the precise amount of tantalum required for the alloy.
In industry, tantalum rods, like those stocked by Special Metals UK, are usually the base component used to create more complex designs, like orthopaedic pins or surgical tools – or they can be used as a source of pure tantalum for alloying with steel or other metals to create super-alloys.
If you need more information or you would like a quote based on your specific requirements, call Special Metals UK on 01268 820409 today or fill in our contact form!