Special Metals UK is able to manufacture a range of tantalum sheets for use in any project. Tantalum is a naturally-occurring element which is found in the Earth’s crust in a range of ores, and once purified, it takes the appearance of a dark-coloured bluish-grey metal, which is very hard and dense. It is commonly used in its elemental form or alloyed to create versatile materials for high-end use.
Always found in conjunction with niobium, tantalum is named after Tantalus, the father of Niobe in Greek mythology. The chemist who discovered it in 1802, Anders Ekeberg, was generally believed to have been mistaken due to the difficulty in separating the two elements – as Niobium was already known to the scientific community and was assumed to be the only metal found in the samples. However, Ekeberg was ultimately proven right by the German mineralogist Heinrich Rose in 1846, 44 years after first declaring his discovery.
Tantalum sheets have a wide range of applications all across modern technology, medicine and industry, thanks to remarkable physical and chemical properties. Of these, the most important are the metal’s extremely high melting point and its incredible resistance to corrosion or chemical reaction, which make it the perfect choice for components of vacuum furnaces, as well as other components which must withstand heat and corrosive chemicals, like valves and chemical industry piping. The corrosion-resistance of tantalum is so much that it resists attack by aqua regis, a chemical which dissolves even gold and platinum.
In addition, it is completely bioinert, making it an ideal material for use in orthopaedic implants and surgical tools, as it won’t cause any reaction in the body.
A primary use of tantalum sheets is the manufacture of these items, as well as the production of electronic items such as capacitors and resistors. In these cases, the tantalum sheet is the raw material, and the metal is ground as necessary for sintering into these components.
The other main use for tantalum is in alloys, and this particularly hard, corrosion-resistant and thermally-stable metal is crucial in the production of high-end superalloys used in rocketry, aerospace engineering, chemical process equipment, nuclear reactors and other high-stress components.
For more information on the tantalum sheets available from Special Metals UK, you can get in touch with the experts at any time on 01268 820409 or use the contact form on this page! The materials experts at our head office will be happy to provide advice and information, and help you find tantalum sheets that are perfect for your needs.