Capacitor Grade Tantalum Powder: Types and Uses


Capacitor grade tantalum powder is essential for producing high-performance capacitors. These capacitors ensure stability, reliability, and efficiency in many electronic devices. This article examines the various types of capacitor grade tantalum powder and their applications across different industries.

Types of Capacitor Grade Tantalum Powder

Capacitor grade tantalum powder is generally categorized into three series based on the working voltage of the capacitors they are used to produce:

1. Low Voltage Series

This series is designed for capacitors with a working voltage not greater than 25V. The powder in this series is optimized to provide high capacitance and stability at lower voltages.

Low voltage tantalum powder is commonly used in portable electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics that operate at lower voltages. These capacitors ensure reliable performance in compact, energy-efficient gadgets.

2. Medium Voltage Series

This series serves capacitors with a working voltage range of 32V to 40V. It balances capacitance and voltage handling capabilities, making it suitable for a broader range of applications compared to the low voltage series.

Medium voltage tantalum powder is used in telecommunications equipment, automotive electronics, and industrial control systems. These capacitors provide reliable performance in environments where moderate voltage levels are typical.

3. High Voltage Series

This series is designed for capacitors with a working voltage not less than 50V. The powder in this series is engineered to handle higher voltages while maintaining stability and performance.

High voltage tantalum powder is utilized in power supply units, aerospace and defense systems, and high-performance computing. These capacitors ensure durability and reliability in high-stress environments.

Advanced Refractory Metals (ARM) is a leading supplier and manufacturer of high-quality capacitor grade tantalum powder produced through sodium reduction processes. We offer three types of capacitor grade tantalum powder: 4-20V, 20-40V, and above 60V, all at competitive prices to meet your needs. Send us an inquiry for more quality tantalum products.

Further reading: Tantalum Powder Types & Properties

Uses of Capacitor Grade Tantalum Powder

1. Solid Electrolytic Capacitors

– Overview: Solid electrolytic capacitors are one of the most common types of capacitors that use tantalum powder. These capacitors feature a tantalum anode, a solid manganese dioxide electrolyte, and a tantalum cathode.

– Applications: Solid electrolytic capacitors are used in a wide range of applications, including consumer electronics (e.g., smartphones, laptops), automotive electronics, medical devices, and aerospace systems. They are valued for their high capacitance per volume, reliability, and stability over a wide temperature range.

2. Wet Electrolytic Capacitors

– Overview: Wet electrolytic capacitors use a liquid electrolyte instead of a solid one. Tantalum powder is used to create the porous anode in these capacitors.

– Applications: Wet electrolytic capacitors are typically used in high-voltage applications and in environments where high energy density and low leakage current are essential. Common applications include power supply units, industrial equipment, and military electronics.

3. Hybrid Capacitors

– Overview: Hybrid capacitors combine the features of both solid and wet electrolytic capacitors. They use a combination of tantalum powder and other materials to achieve specific performance characteristics.

– Applications: Hybrid capacitors are used in applications that require a balance of high capacitance, low leakage current, and high reliability. They are found in advanced electronic devices, renewable energy systems, and critical infrastructure applications.

4. Medical Devices

– Overview: The reliability and biocompatibility of tantalum make it an ideal material for capacitors used in medical devices.

– Applications: Tantalum capacitors are used in implantable medical devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators, as well as in diagnostic equipment and portable medical devices. Their stability and longevity are crucial for ensuring the safety and efficacy of medical treatments and monitoring.

5. Telecommunications

– Overview: The telecommunications industry demands capacitors that offer high performance and reliability to ensure uninterrupted service.

– Applications: Tantalum capacitors are used in network infrastructure, including base stations, routers, and switches, as well as in consumer communication devices. Their ability to perform consistently in varying conditions makes them essential for maintaining robust and reliable communication networks.

Advantages of Using Tantalum Powder in Capacitors

  • High Capacitance Density
    • Tantalum capacitors offer higher capacitance per unit volume compared to other types of capacitors. This allows for the production of smaller, lighter capacitors, which is especially beneficial in portable and miniaturized electronic devices.
  • Excellent Temperature Stability
    • Tantalum capacitors can operate over a wide temperature range, typically from -55°C to 125°C. This ensures reliable performance in extreme environmental conditions, making them suitable for use in industrial, automotive, and aerospace applications.
  • Superior Reliability
    • These capacitors exhibit long service life and high reliability. They maintain stable capacitance characteristics under varying temperature and load conditions, which is crucial for energy storage and power supply applications.
  • Low Leakage Current
    • Tantalum capacitors have low leakage currents, contributing to efficient energy usage in electronic circuits. This makes them ideal for battery-operated devices and applications requiring low power consumption.


Capacitor grade tantalum powder is crucial in the production of high-performance capacitors with excellent electrical characteristics. The different types of tantalum powder, each suited to specific voltage ranges, meet the diverse needs of modern electronic devices. As technology advances, the demand for high-quality tantalum powder will grow, driving further innovation in capacitor design and manufacturing.

Additive Manufacturing of Refractory Metals for Aerospace


Refractory metals, such as tungsten (W), molybdenum (Mo), and tantalum (Ta), are known for their unique properties, including impressive heat resistance and outstanding strength. This makes them essential for high-temperature propulsion applications.

However, their high melting points and hardness also make them expensive and difficult to manufacture. Additive Manufacturing (AM) is emerging as a promising solution to these challenges. Let’s explore the potential of AM in overcoming these obstacles.

The Need for Refractory Metals


Fig. 1 Tungsten Thruster


Refractory metals, such as tungsten (W), molybdenum (Mo), and tantalum (Ta), are crucial in aerospace applications due to their unique properties. These metals are used in a variety of high-stress, high-temperature components, including:

  • Reaction Control System (RCS) Thrusters: These are used for precise maneuvering of spacecraft. The extreme temperatures and rapid thermal cycling require materials that can maintain their integrity under such conditions.
  • Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) Fuel Clads: These clads must withstand the intense heat generated during nuclear reactions, making refractory metals indispensable.
  • Hypergolic and Green Propulsion Chambers: These propulsion systems, which use hypergolic fuels that ignite spontaneously on contact, operate at very high temperatures, necessitating the use of heat-resistant materials.

Related reading: Refractory Metals & Alloys For Aerospace

Traditional Manufacturing Challenges

Despite their advantageous properties, manufacturing refractory metal components has historically been challenging and costly. The traditional manufacturing process involves several issues:

  • Material Waste: Achieving the desired near-net shape is difficult, often resulting in substantial material waste. This is particularly problematic given the high cost of refractory metals.
  • Extensive Machining: Due to their hardness and high melting points, refractory metals require extensive machining to achieve the final shape. This process is not only time-consuming but also expensive.
  • High Costs: The combination of high material costs, significant waste, and labor-intensive machining leads to very high overall costs for producing refractory metal components.

Advantages of Additive Manufacturing


Fig 2. Reaction Chambers Made from New Materials


NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) has been at the forefront of developing AM technologies for producing refractory metal components. Studies have shown that Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) AM can significantly reduce the cost and lead time of manufacturing refractory metal parts.

Unlike traditional methods, AM allows for near-net shape production with minimal waste. For instance, the buy-to-fly ratio in traditional manufacturing can be as high as 50:1, whereas AM reduces this ratio to approximately 1.1:1. This substantial reduction in waste not only lowers costs but also makes the process more environmentally friendly.

AM offers several advantages over traditional manufacturing methods:

  • Reduced Material Waste: AM allows for near-net shape production, significantly reducing material waste. For example, the buy-to-fly ratio in traditional manufacturing can be as high as 50:1, whereas AM reduces this ratio to approximately 1.1:1.
  • Lower Costs: By minimizing waste and reducing the need for extensive machining, AM can lower the overall costs of manufacturing refractory metal components.
  • Design Flexibility: AM enables the production of complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with traditional manufacturing methods.

Current Challenges and Solutions

Despite its advantages, AM of refractory metals faces several challenges. The high thermal gradients during the AM process can induce residual stresses and micro-cracking, especially in materials with low ductility like tungsten and molybdenum. To address these issues, NASA has been exploring various approaches, including:

  1. Dispersoid Strengthening: Adding ceramic nano-powders (dispersoids) to the metal matrix during the AM process can refine grain structures, reduce residual stresses, and improve mechanical properties at high temperatures. For example, adding zirconium carbide (ZrC) to tungsten has shown to significantly decrease micro-cracking.
  2. New Alloy Development: Developing new refractory metal alloys specifically optimized for AM processes can enhance printability and performance. For instance, solid-solution alloys such as W-5Nb and W-7Ni-3Fe have shown improved printability and mechanical properties compared to pure tungsten.


Additive Manufacturing of refractory metals offers significant potential for aerospace applications, providing cost savings, design flexibility, and reduced lead times. While challenges remain, ongoing research and development are paving the way for broader implementation of AM in producing high-performance refractory metal components.

The future of AM in the aerospace industry looks promising, with continued advancements expected to overcome current limitations and unlock new possibilities for high-temperature applications. For more information about refractory metals, please visit Advanced Refractory Metals (ARM).




[1] NASA (2021, July 1). Additive Manufacturing of Refractory Metals for Aerospace. Retrieved June 18, 2024, from chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/

Kinetic Energy Penetrators: History, Materials, and Uses

The Development of Kinetic Energy Penetrators

–Early Development:

Kinetic energy (KE) penetrators have been utilized since World War II, evolving significantly over the decades. Initially, these projectiles were basic steel rods designed to pierce through armor using sheer momentum.

-Cold War Advancements:

– During the Cold War, advancements in materials science and aerodynamics led to the development of more sophisticated KE penetrators. This period saw the introduction of depleted uranium (DU) and tungsten alloys, which offered superior density and hardness.

–Modern Era:

– Today, KE penetrators are a crucial component of modern military arsenals, particularly in tank and anti-tank warfare. They are designed to defeat increasingly advanced armor technologies, including reactive and composite armors.

Materials of Kinetic Energy Penetrators

–Depleted Uranium (DU):

– DU is favored for its high density and pyrophoric properties, which enhance penetration capabilities and cause secondary damage within the target. However, DU’s use is controversial due to environmental and health concerns.

–Tungsten Alloys:

– Tungsten, often alloyed with nickel, iron, or cobalt, provides a non-radioactive alternative to DU. Tungsten penetrators are valued for their hardness, density, and resistance to deformation under high stress.

Related reading: Tungsten Penetrators: The Cutting Edge Of Armor-Piercing Technology

–Composite Materials:

– Recent innovations include the use of composite materials and advanced ceramics, which aim to combine the best properties of metals and non-metals, such as lightweight with high strength.

–Tungsten Penetrators vs Depleted Uranium

  1. Penetration Performance: Tungsten penetrator’s superior hardness can provide better performance against certain types of modern armor, which are designed to disrupt softer materials.
  2. Pyrophoric Effect: DU’s pyrophoric property gives it an additional advantage upon impact, causing internal fires and secondary damage. This incendiary effect can be particularly devastating in armored vehicles.
  3. Environmental and Health Concerns: DU poses significant long-term environmental risks due to its slight radioactivity and chemical toxicity. Contaminated areas may suffer from soil and water pollution, and personnel exposed to DU can experience health issues over time. While tungsten penetrators do not have such risk.
  4. Cost and Availability: Tungsten penetrators are more expensive and less readily available than DU, which is a byproduct of uranium enrichment processes and thus relatively plentiful. The higher cost of tungsten penetrators can be a limiting factor for widespread use in military applications.

Related reading: Do Tungsten Penetrators Work Better Than Depleted Uranium?

Applications of Kinetic Energy Penetrators

  • Military Use:
    • KE penetrators are primarily used in anti-tank and anti-armor roles. They are deployed in various munitions, including tank gun rounds, artillery shells, and guided missiles.
  • Naval Warfare:
    • In naval contexts, KE penetrators are used to defeat the armor of ships and submarines. Their ability to penetrate hulls and critical components makes them vital in naval engagements.
  • Aerospace:
    • KE penetrators are also explored for space and satellite defense applications, where they can potentially be used to disable or destroy enemy satellites and space stations.
  • Civilian and Industrial Applications:
    • Although primarily military, some principles of KE penetrators are applied in civilian industries. For example, high-velocity projectiles are used in mining and construction to break through hard materials.

Challenges and Future Directions

  1. Environmental and Health Concerns:

The use of DU poses significant environmental and health risks, leading to increased research into safer alternatives. Managing the aftermath of DU usage in conflict zones remains a major challenge.

  1. Armor Technology:

As armor technology advances, KE penetrators must continuously evolve. Innovations in composite and reactive armors require constant improvements in penetrator design and materials.

  1. Manufacturing and Cost:

The production of advanced KE penetrators involves complex manufacturing processes and high costs. Balancing effectiveness with economic feasibility is an ongoing concern.

  1. Research and Development:

Future developments may include the use of nanotechnology and smart materials to create even more effective penetrators. The integration of advanced guidance systems to increase accuracy and lethality is also a focus area.


Advanced kinetic energy penetrators represent a critical aspect of modern military technology, driven by ongoing advancements in materials science and engineering. While they provide significant tactical advantages, their use brings forth challenges that must be addressed through continuous innovation and responsible management. For more details, please check Advanced Refractory Metals (ARM).

Tantalum Foil Used in Surgery


Tantalum foil, a highly durable and biocompatible material, has found significant applications in the field of surgery. Its unique properties make it an ideal choice for various medical procedures, particularly those requiring materials that can withstand harsh bodily environments and integrate well with biological tissues.

Key Properties of Tantalum Foil

  1. Biocompatibility: Tantalum is highly biocompatible, meaning it does not elicit an adverse reaction from the body’s tissues. This property is crucial for surgical implants and other medical devices that come into direct contact with body tissues.


  1. Corrosion Resistance: Tantalum is exceptionally resistant to corrosion, making it suitable for long-term implantation in the body where it can be exposed to bodily fluids without degrading.


  1. High Density and Strength: Despite its relatively low weight, tantalum has a high density and strength, providing structural support without adding unnecessary bulk.


  1. Imaging Compatibility: Tantalum is radiopaque, meaning it is visible under X-ray imaging, which is beneficial for monitoring the position and condition of implants post-surgery.

Common Surgical Applications

  1. Orthopedic Implants: Tantalum foil is used in orthopedic implants, including hip and knee replacements. Its biocompatibility and strength ensure that it can provide long-lasting support and integrate well with bone tissue.


  1. Cranial and Facial Reconstruction: In reconstructive surgery, tantalum foil can be used to repair defects in the skull or face. Its malleability allows it to be shaped precisely to fit complex anatomical structures.


  1. Dental Implants: Tantalum’s properties make it an excellent material for dental implants, providing a durable and biocompatible solution for tooth replacement.


  1. Vascular Surgery: Tantalum foil is also used in vascular surgery to create stents and grafts. Its corrosion resistance ensures that it can remain functional in the bloodstream over long periods.

Advanced Cases

For instance, tantalum foil found use in Peripheral Nerve Surgery. In the paper “Observations on the Use of Tantalum Foil in Peripheral Nerve Surgery,” published in the Journal of Neurosurgery in January 1947, N. C. Norcross and J. T. Bakody reported findings from 20 cases involving peripheral nerve suture and lysis using unannealed tantalum foil cuffs. The authors made several key observations about the use of tantalum foil in peripheral nerve surgery:

  • Protective Sheath: Tantalum foil can be used as a protective sheath to minimize fixation and scarring of the repaired nerve.
  • Annealed Foil: Annealed foil is preferable to unannealed foil for protecting the line of anastomosis because unannealed foil tends to break up.
  • Severed Nerve: Tantalum foil can be used to wrap the end of a severed nerve to prevent neuroma formation.
  • Sympathetic Trunks: Tantalum foil cuffs can be used to wrap severed sympathetic trunks during sympathectomy to prevent sympathetic fiber regeneration.


The versatility and effectiveness of tantalum foil are also shown in various surgical applications:

  • Spinal Surgery: Tantalum foil can be utilized in spinal surgery to create interbody fusion devices. These devices are implanted between vertebrae to provide structural support and encourage bone growth, ultimately leading to successful spinal fusion. The radiopacity of tantalum allows surgeons to monitor the progress of the fusion using X-rays.
  • Craniofacial Reconstruction: In cases of severe craniofacial trauma or congenital defects, tantalum foil can be used to reconstruct parts of the skull and face. Its ability to be molded into complex shapes ensures a good fit, promoting better healing and cosmetic outcomes.
  • Cardiovascular Surgery: Tantalum foil is employed in the construction of heart valve prosthetics and vascular stents. Its biocompatibility and resistance to corrosion are essential for the longevity and performance of these devices within the circulatory system.


Tantalum foil‘s unique combination of biocompatibility, corrosion resistance, high strength, and radiopacity makes it an invaluable material in various surgical applications. From orthopedic implants to craniofacial reconstruction and vascular surgery, tantalum foil provides reliable and durable solutions that enhance patient outcomes and surgical success. As medical technology advances, the use of tantalum foil in surgery is likely to expand, offering new possibilities for treatment and reconstruction. For more information, please check Advanced Refractory Metals (ARM).




[1] NORCROSS NC, BAKODY JT. Observations on the use of tantalum foil in peripheral nerve surgery. J Neurosurg. 1947 Jan;4(1):69-71. doi: 10.3171/jns.1947.4.1.0069. PMID: 20287664.