Comparing Tantalum Powder with Alternative Materials


Tantalum is a rare and highly corrosion-resistant metal, and its powdered form offers unique advantages that set it apart from alternative materials. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of Tantalum Powder and how it compares to other materials commonly used in industries such as aerospace, electronics, and chemical processing.

Tantalum Powder

Tantalum: A Brief Overview

Tantalum is a transition metal with the atomic number 73, known for its remarkable corrosion resistance, high melting point (approximately 3,020°C or 5,468°F), and excellent conductivity of heat and electricity. These properties make it an ideal candidate for a wide range of applications, especially in harsh environments.

Advantages of Tantalum Powder

Tantalum Powder, derived from the rare metal tantalum, possesses a unique set of advantages that make it a valuable material in various industrial applications. Here are some key benefits:

  • Corrosion Resistance: Tantalum is renowned for its resistance to corrosion by acids, including sulfuric, hydrochloric, and nitric acids. This property is a game-changer in industries where exposure to corrosive substances is a concern.
  • High Melting Point: Tantalum’s exceptionally high melting point makes it suitable for applications involving extreme temperatures, such as aerospace components and superalloys.
  • Biocompatibility: Tantalum is biocompatible, and it is an excellent choice for medical implants and devices.
  • Excellent Ductility: Tantalum can be easily fabricated into various shapes and forms, making it versatile for manufacturing.
  • Low Thermal Expansion: Its low coefficient of thermal expansion ensures dimensional stability at temperature variations.

Comparing Tantalum Powder with Alternative Materials

Therefore, this highly specialized material is set apart from other materials because of several distinctive characteristics. Here’s a comparison between Tantalum Powder and some other commonly used materials:

  1. Tantalum vs. Titanium: Titanium is another corrosion-resistant metal commonly used in aerospace and medical industries. While titanium is lighter than tantalum, it is not as resistant to certain aggressive chemicals.
  2. Tantalum vs. Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is less expensive and more readily available than tantalum, but it may not withstand the same harsh environments as tantalum. Tantalum outperforms stainless steel in applications involving highly corrosive substances.
  3. Tantalum vs. Niobium: Tantalum and niobium are often used together because of their similar properties and their ability to form alloys. Yet, tantalum has a higher density and better resistance to corrosion.
  4. Tantalum vs. Alloys: Various alloys, such as Hastelloy and Inconel, are used in chemical processing due to their corrosion resistance. However, these alloys may not match tantalum’s level of resistance to all corrosive agents.


Tantalum Powder stands out as a versatile and reliable material in industries that demand corrosion resistance, high-temperature stability, and biocompatibility. And it outperforms alternative materials thanks to its impressive corrosion resistance. As technology advances and new applications emerge, it is likely to continue playing a pivotal role in various high-performance industries. Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) provides various kinds of tantalum products. Send us an inquiry if you are interested.

Tantalum Powder: A Sustainable Solution for a Greener Future


In a world increasingly focused on sustainability and environmental responsibility, Tantalum Powder stands out as a remarkable and eco-friendly material. This article explores how it is contributing to sustainability efforts across diverse industries and paving the way for a more environmentally conscious world. Hope that you can have a better understanding.

Tantalum Powder

1. Renewable Energy: Efficient Energy Storage

Tantalum Capacitors are vital components in energy-efficient technologies, including renewable energy systems. They enable efficient energy storage and distribution in solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles, helping reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Electronics: Longevity and Efficiency

Tantalum Capacitors’ durability and reliability extend the lifespan of electronic devices, reducing electronic waste. Their small size and high performance also contribute to energy-efficient electronics, aligning with sustainability goals.

3. Aerospace and Transportation: Fuel Efficiency

Tantalum’s lightweight and high-temperature resistance properties contribute to fuel-efficient aerospace components and transportation systems, reducing energy consumption and emissions during travel.

4. Medical Advancements: Biocompatible Implants

Tantalum’s biocompatibility and corrosion resistance make it a sustainable choice for medical implants. Longer-lasting implants mean fewer replacements and less medical waste.

5. Recycling and Circular Economy: Resource Conservation

Tantalum is highly recyclable. Promoting recycling efforts in the tantalum industry contributes to a circular economy, reducing the need for new tantalum mining and minimizing its environmental footprint.

6. Conflict-Free Sourcing: Ethical Mining

The tantalum industry has made strides in avoiding the use of conflict minerals. Ethical mining practices ensure that tantalum is sourced responsibly and without contributing to conflicts in resource-rich regions.


Tantalum Powder represents a sustainable solution for a greener future, aligning with global efforts to reduce environmental impact and combat climate change. Its applications in renewable energy, electronics, aerospace, and healthcare, coupled with its recyclability and ethical sourcing practices, make tantalum an essential element in the transition toward a more sustainable and eco-conscious world. As we continue to advance technologically and environmentally, tantalum’s role in shaping a greener future cannot be overstated.

Advanced Refractory Metal (ARM) provides a variety of Tantalum Powders. Send us an inquiry if you are interested.

How Tantalum Powder Is Revolutionizing the Electronics Industry


Tantalum Powder is making waves as a revolutionary force in the electronics industry, redefining how devices are designed, manufactured, and operated. Its unique properties are transforming various aspects of electronics, from miniaturization to energy storage and beyond. This article is going to discuss how it is used in the electronics industry. Hope it could give you a better comprehension of its features and applications.

Tantalum Powder

Miniaturization and Efficiency

One of the most impactful ways Tantalum Powder is revolutionizing electronics is by enabling the miniaturization of components. Its high melting point and excellent thermal conductivity make it suitable for crafting intricate and compact designs. As electronic devices become smaller and more powerful, this powder facilitates the creation of efficient and densely packed circuits that deliver optimal performance in limited space.

Capacitor Advancements

Tantalum Capacitors, vital components in electronic devices, have witnessed a significant leap in performance due to Tantalum Powder. These capacitors boast high capacitance-to-volume ratios, allowing them to store more energy in a smaller footprint. This efficiency translates to longer battery life, faster charging, and improved overall device performance. Tantalum capacitors also exhibit low equivalent series resistance (ESR), reducing energy losses and heat generation.

Tantalum Capacitors

Energy Storage Breakthroughs

The electronics industry is increasingly focused on energy storage solutions, and Tantalum Powder is at the forefront of these advancements. It’s a key material in the development of supercapacitors, offering high energy density, rapid charge and discharge rates, and exceptional cycle life. This opens up new avenues for energy-efficient electronics, renewable energy integration, and electric vehicle technologies.

Reliability and Longevity

Tantalum Powder’s remarkable resistance to corrosion ensures the longevity and reliability of electronic components, especially in harsh environments. This is crucial for aerospace, automotive, and industrial applications where electronic systems must operate flawlessly under extreme conditions.

Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing

Sustainability lies at the heart of Tantalum Powder’s role in the electronics industry. As a conflict-free and responsibly sourced material, it aligns with the industry’s growing emphasis on ethical supply chains.


In essence, Tantalum Powder is spearheading a transformation in the electronics industry. By enabling miniaturization, enhancing capacitor performance, facilitating energy storage breakthroughs, ensuring reliability, and promoting sustainability, it’s shaping a future where electronics are more efficient, powerful, and environmentally conscious than ever before.

Advanced Refractory Metal (ARM) provides capacitor tantalum, metallurgical tantalum, voltage tantalum powder, and spherical tantalum powder. Send us an inquiry if you are interested.

The Essential Uses of Tantalum Powder in Modern Industries

Tantalum, a rare and valuable metal, has found a multitude of applications across various industries due to its exceptional properties. One of the most common forms of tantalum used in industrial processes is tantalum powder. This fine powder, composed of tiny tantalum particles, plays a crucial role in numerous modern industries. From electronics to healthcare, tantalum powder has become an essential material in shaping the advancements of our society.

tantalum capacitors

Electronics Industry:

The electronics industry heavily relies on tantalum powder for the production of capacitors, which are fundamental components of electronic devices. Tantalum capacitors offer high capacitance and excellent reliability, making them indispensable in applications that require small size, high performance, and long-term stability. Tantalum powder is used to create the conductive material within these capacitors, enabling efficient energy storage and discharge. The demand for tantalum powder continues to rise as the electronics industry expands and new technologies emerge.

Aerospace and Defense:

Tantalum’s unique properties make it a sought-after material in the aerospace and defense sectors. Tantalum powder is used in the production of turbine blades, rocket nozzles, and other critical components of aircraft engines. Its high melting point, excellent corrosion resistance, and ability to withstand extreme temperatures make tantalum powder an ideal choice for these applications. Additionally, tantalum is non-reactive with bodily fluids, making it valuable for the manufacture of surgical instruments and implants used in the medical field.

Chemical Processing:

Tantalum powder finds extensive use in the chemical industry, particularly in processes involving corrosive materials. Its resistance to corrosion by acids and other aggressive chemicals makes it highly suitable for applications such as heat exchangers, reactor vessels, and tantalum pipes. Tantalum’s inertness and stability allow it to withstand harsh conditions and prevent contamination or damage to the chemicals being processed. Furthermore, tantalum’s ability to form a protective oxide layer on its surface adds an extra layer of protection against chemical reactions.

Energy Sector:

As the demand for clean and sustainable energy increases, tantalum powder plays a vital role in the production of advanced energy systems. Tantalum-based materials are employed in the fabrication of high-temperature superconductors, which have the potential to revolutionize power transmission and electrical energy storage. Additionally, tantalum powder is used in the production of electrodes for electrochemical capacitors (supercapacitors) and lithium-ion batteries, enhancing their energy storage capabilities and overall performance.

Medical Applications:

Tantalum’s biocompatibility and resistance to corrosion have made it a valuable material in the medical field. Tantalum powder is used to create implants, such as hip and knee replacements, that can withstand the harsh conditions of the human body while promoting bone growth. Its unique properties also make it suitable for dental applications, where it is used in the fabrication of dental crowns and bridges. Tantalum’s radiopacity is another advantageous characteristic, allowing for clear imaging during medical procedures.

In conclusion, tantalum powder has become an indispensable material across multiple industries, contributing to advancements in electronics, aerospace, defense, chemical processing, energy, and healthcare. Its exceptional properties, including high melting point, corrosion resistance, biocompatibility, and conductivity, have made it an ideal choice for various critical applications. As technology continues to advance, tantalum powder will likely remain a crucial component in driving innovation and shaping the future of modern industries.


Unlocking the Potential of Tantalum Powder: A Comprehensive Guide


Tantalum powder, a unique and versatile material, holds immense potential in various industries. It is exceptional properties and wide range of applications make it a sought-after choice for advanced technologies. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of tantalum powder, exploring its characteristics, applications, and the transformative impact it has on modern industries.

Understanding Tantalum Powder

Tantalum powder is a fine, metallic substance derived from tantalum, a rare and highly corrosion-resistant element. We’ll explore its composition, physical and chemical properties, and how these properties contribute to its exceptional performance in various applications.

Applications in Electronics

Tantalum powder plays a crucial role in the electronics industry. We’ll discover how tantalum capacitors, known for their high capacitance and reliability, have become a staple in electronic devices such as smartphones, computers, and automotive electronics. We’ll also explore tantalum’s presence in thin-film resistors, semiconductors, and other electronic components.

metal additive

Tantalum Powder in Aerospace and Defense

The aerospace and defense sectors benefit greatly from tantalum powder. Its high melting point, excellent strength, and corrosion resistance make it ideal for aircraft and rocket engine components, turbine blades, and armor plating. We’ll uncover tantalum’s contribution to the advancement of these industries.

Medical and Biotechnology Applications

Tantalum powder finds extensive use in medical and biotechnology fields. We’ll examine its biocompatibility, radiopacity, and non-toxic nature, which make it suitable for implants, dental applications, and medical imaging devices. We’ll also explore tantalum’s potential in drug delivery systems and tissue engineering.

Industrial Applications and Beyond

Beyond electronics and healthcare, tantalum powder plays a crucial role in diverse industries. We’ll discover its use in chemical processing equipment, corrosion-resistant coatings, superalloys for jet engines, and even in nuclear applications. We’ll also explore tantalum’s potential in emerging fields such as energy storage and 3D printing.

Sustainability and Responsible Mining

As we unlock tantalum powder’s potential, we must also address its sourcing and environmental impact. We’ll delve into responsible mining practices, recycling efforts, and initiatives to ensure the sustainable use of tantalum resources.


Tantalum powder has emerged as a game-changing material with vast potential across numerous industries. Its unique combination of properties, ranging from corrosion resistance and high melting point to biocompatibility, make it a prized asset in advanced technologies. By understanding its capabilities and applications, we can harness its full potential while ensuring responsible sourcing and sustainability.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored tantalum powder’s versatility and its impact on the electronics, aerospace, medical, and industrial sectors. As we continue to unlock its potential, tantalum powder will undoubtedly shape the future of technology and contribute to advancements that benefit society as a whole.

Remember to stay updated on the latest developments in tantalum powder technology, as it continues to evolve and expand its boundaries. Together, let’s embrace the potential of tantalum powder and pave the way for a brighter and more innovative future.

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Is Tantalum The Same As Niobium?

What is tantalum?

Tantalum is a metal element, element symbol is Ta, its atomic number is 73, its density is 16.68g/cm, and its melting point is 2980 DEG C, which is the third most refractory metal. Pure tantalum has a blue color, and excellent ductility, and can be rolled into a very thin plate in the cold state without intermediate annealing.


The corrosion resistance of tantalum is the same as that of glass. In the medium temperature (about 150 DEG C), only fluorine, hydrofluoric acid, sulfur trioxide, alkali, and some molten salts have an effect on tantalum. Tantalum is stable at room temperature, it will accelerate oxidation to produce Ta205 if heated to 500 DEG C.

Tantalum has a series of excellent properties such as high melting point, low vapor pressure, and cold processing performance, high chemical stability, anti-corrosion ability, constant liquid metal oxide film, has important applications in electronics, metallurgy, the chemical industry, iron and steel, hard alloy, atomic energy, superconducting technology, automotive electronics, aerospace, medical health and scientific research and other high-tech fields.
What is niobium?

What is Niobium?

Niobium is a rare high melting point metal. The melting point is 2467 degrees, the density is 8.6g/cm3, and the lattice type is body-centered cubic. The coefficient of linear expansion (0~100 C) is 7.1 x 10-6. Adding a small amount of niobium into a steel can greatly improve the strength of steel, improve the mechanical and welding properties of steel, and improve its corrosion resistance.

Niobium can be used as a capacitor and niobium-based superalloy. FS – 85 alloy is a structural material for the orbiting engine on the shuttle. C – 103 alloy can be used as a rocket nozzle material. Other niobium alloys, such as Nb – Zr, Nb – Ti, Nb – Ti – Ta, can be used as superconducting materials, and are widely used in magnetic resonance medical human images.

Niobium-based compounds and complexes can be used as catalysts to remove pollution, selective oxidation, and hydrogenation.

Is tantalum the same as niobium?

No. Tantalum and niobium are transition metals that are commonly found together in nature. They have very similar physical and chemical properties. Their properties of hardness, conductivity, and resistance to corrosion largely determine their primary uses today.
The reason for the similarity between niobium and tantalum is the size which is the result of the lanthanide contraction. Thus, the niobium and tantalum have the same size and due to the same size, tantalum and niobium have the same ionic and covalent radii.


Tantalum is chemically much like niobium because both have similar electronic configurations and because the radius of the tantalum ion is nearly the same as that of niobium as a result of the lanthanoid contraction. Niobium is a lustrous, gray, ductile metal with a high melting point, relatively low density, and superconductor properties. Tantalum is a dark blue-gray, dense, ductile, very hard, and easily fabricated metal. It is highly conductive to heat and electricity and renowned for its resistance to acidic corrosion.

Stanford Advanced Materials produce our tantalum products from the metal powder to the finished product. We only use the purest tantalum powder as the source material. This is how we can guarantee you a very high material purity.
We guarantee a purity of 99.95% for our sintered quality tantalum (metallic purity without Nb). The remaining portion is made up primarily of the following elements according to a chemical analysis:

Element Typical max. value
Guaranteed max. value
Fe 17 50
Mo 10 50
Nb 10 100
Ni 5 50
Si 10 50
Ti 1 10
W 20 50
C 11 50
H 2 15
N 5 50
O 81 150
Cd 5 10
Hg 1
Pb 5 10

Is Niobium Similar to Tantalum?

The answer is YES.

uses of tantalum niobium

Tantalum and niobium are inseparable in nature, why can’t they be used as a beautiful symbol of love?

Niobium and tantalum are in the same group in the periodic table and have very similar physical and chemical properties. They are often “inseparable” in nature, like a pair of “twin brothers”.

When niobium and tantalum were discovered in the early 19th century, they were thought to be one element, and it was only after about 42 years that they were separated for the first time by chemical analysis, and it became clear that they were two different metallic elements.

Tantalum (Ta) niobium (Nb) are high melting point (tantalum 2996 ° C, niobium 2468 ° C), high boiling point (tantalum 5427 ° C, niobium 5127 ° C) rare metals, the appearance of steel, gray-white luster, the Tantalum powder is dark gray, with gas absorption, corrosion resistance, superconductivity, unipolar conductivity and high strength at high temperatures, and other characteristics.

Therefore, the current tantalum niobium new material applications related to high-tech industrial fields include electronics, precision ceramics, and precision glass industry; electro-acoustic optical devices; cemented carbide, astronautics, and electronic energy industry; biomedical engineering; superconductivity industry; special steel and other industries.

Niobium-tantalum has good resistance to physiological corrosion and biocompatibility and does not interact with body tissues, so it is often used in the manufacture of bone plates, skull plate bone screws, dental implant roots, surgical appliances, etc. Tantalum is also known as a “biophilic metal” because it replaces bone in the human body with tantalum strips on which muscles can grow.

This is why they are also known as “pro-biological metals”. Therefore, there are no allergies when using them for rings, and the price is better. Because tantalum is almost twice as dense as niobium, a tantalum ring of the same size will be more textured, darker in color, and more expensive than a niobium ring.

Because they have always coexisted in nature, we can also define them as a good brother or a loving couple who are inseparable, if you want to buy a pair of rings you can consider buying one each of tantalum and niobium for better meaning.

What is the Trend of Ta & Nb Market?

The atomic sequences of tantalum (Ta) and niobium (Nb) are 73 and 41, respectively, both of which are located in the VB family of excessive elements. They are often symbiotic in nature and are important refractory rare metals. They look like steel, with off-white luster, and the powder is dark gray. They have excellent properties, including a high melting point, high boiling point, low vapor pressure, good cold workability, high chemical stability, strong resistance to liquid metal and acid and alkali corrosion, and high dielectric constant of the surface oxide film, etc.

ta trend

Tantalum and niobium metals and their compounds and alloys are important functional materials, which has important applications in the technical fields of electronics, steel, metallurgy, chemicals, hard alloys, atomic energy, aerospace, and other industrial sectors as well as strategic weapons, superconducting technology, scientific research, medical devices and so on.

Applications of tantalum and niobium

Tantalum and niobium are similar in nature and can be replaced in many application areas. However, their respective characteristics have led to the use of tantalum in industries such as electronics, metallurgy, chemicals, and hard alloys.

Electrolytic capacitors made of tantalum metals in the electronics industry have outstanding characteristics such as large capacitance, small leakage current, good stability, high reliability, good pressure resistance, long life, and small volume. They are widely used in national defense, aviation and aerospace, electronic computers, high-end civilian electrical appliances, and electronic circuits of various electronic instruments. Niobium is used in industrial-grade superconducting technology such as steel, ceramics, and nuclear energy.

In today’s world, about 65% of the total tantalum is used in the electronics industry, and about 87% of the total niobium is used in the steel industry. With the advancement of technology, the application fields of tantalum and niobium and their alloys and processed materials will continue to expand.

Tantalum can store and release energy, which is indispensable in the electronics industry, so tantalum capacitors consume more than half of the world’s mine production.

The tantalum-based components can be made very small, and other chemical elements cannot be used as substitutes without degrading the performance of the electronic device, so tantalum is almost ubiquitous as a component application, such as mobile phones, a hard disks, and a hearing aid.

In the chemical industry, the corrosion resistance of tantalum is very good and it is used as a lining for pipelines and tanks. Tantalum carbide has a high hardness and is an ideal material for manufacturing cutting tools, and tantalum oxide can increase the refractive index of glass lenses.

Current supply and demand situation

Before the end of 2011, the industry was generally operating in a benign environment. The front end of tantalum niobium production has a large space, the intermediate wet smelting and fire smelting also have a certain profit, and the back end high specific volume of tantalum powder and tantalum wire production and sales market also has a large operation space. However, since the second half of 2012, with the emergence of the global financial crisis, such applications as tantalum niobium are relatively narrow and the consumer sector has been greatly affected by the high-end electronic products industry.

The trend of the tantalum niobium market

At present, the production in the tantalum niobium industry is mainly based on wet smelting and pyrometallurgical smelting. The products produced are mainly potassium fluoroantimonate, antimony oxide, antimony oxide, antimony carbide, antimony wire, metallurgical grade tantalum powder, and some coffin materials.

At present, the domestic demand for tantalum niobium is 800~1000 tons, and the national production capacity is about 140~150 tons. Most of the rest of the raw materials are all dependent on African imports.

Most of the exported antimony mines in Africa are also known as “African blood mines”, which refer to war-plunging low-cost minerals that are arbitrarily harvested and dug in the African region at the expense of polluting the environment and destroying resources. African mines are affected by the instability of the regional political and economic environment and have greater volatility. Its products contain high levels of unfavorable elements such as antimony, uranium, and thorium, which have certain adverse effects on product quality and environmental protection requirements of downstream products; Moreover, the delivery period of the mine is long and the safety cannot be fully guaranteed. To this end, the International Electron Association has classified it as a source of minerals that are not allowed to enter the normal market.

Stanford Advanced Materials supplies high-quality tantalum niobium products to meet our customers’ R&D and production needs. Please visit for more information.

Processing Technology of Tantalum Bar to Wire

The production of tantalum wire is usually carried out by powder metallurgy or another isostatic pressing, vacuum sintering to obtain a tantalum rod, followed by cold rolling and surface cleaning to obtain a tantalum strip, and then the wire is obtained by surface oxidation coating, stretching, pickling, water washing, and annealing. The processing process of the tantalum bar to wire includes the following steps.

tantalum wire

Isostatic molding

The chemical composition of the tantalum powder raw material for preparing the tantalum should meet the specified requirements, and the particle size distribution should satisfy the requirement that 100% is less than 0.074 m, and the content of less than 0.038 m (400) is not less than 60%. The bar blank after press forming requires no defects on the surface, no cracks, and has a certain strength, reaching 70% of the theoretical density.

Vacuum sintering

Usually, the melt sintering is performed, the sintering vacuum should be less than 0.133Pa, and the highest sintering temperature should be controlled within 2600 °C. Generally, after two times of vertical melting and sintering, the relative density of the tantalum can reach about 98%, and the surface of the tantalum is required to be smooth, without cracks, melted tumor knots, and bubbling.

Cold rolling

The production of tantalum wire and the forging of tantalum bars are generally carried out by cold rolling. It can be used as a manufacturing process before die forging, or it can be directly rolled into an ingot. Roll forging is a process in which a tantalum rod is passed through a pair of rotating wrought rolls equipped with circular arc dies, and plastically deformed by means of a cavity to obtain the desired ingot.


The purpose of anodizing is to uniformly coat an oxide film on the surface of the tantalum ingot (wire). As a carrier of the lubricant, the oxide film can uniformly and firmly adhere the lubricant, which can reduce the tensile friction coefficient, ensure the surface quality of the silk, and cannot directly contact the metal and the mold, then prevent the bonding and improve the tensile performance.

The standard of the oxide film is that the adhesion is strong, the micro-tightness is firm, the color is not easy to fall off, the thickness is uniform, the insulation is good, the residual current is small, and the surface is less crystalline.


Stretching is a major process in the production of tantalum wire. The choice of lubricant, drawing die, stretching pass, and stretching speed will directly affect the quality of the wire. The stretching of tantalum is divided into thick wire and fine wire. Solid wax is generally used as a lubricant for roughening the thick tantalum wire with an oxide film, and an aqueous solution of grease soap is generally used as a lubricant when the tantalum wire with oxide film is finely drawn. The tensile die has cemented carbide and diamond, the latter is better but more expensive. The processing rate of the stretching pass depends mainly on the quality of the oxide film and the quality of the lubricant.

The surface of the wire after stretching is stuck with oil and residual oxide film, so it is necessary to clean the surface with acid and then with pure water. For the fine wire, the acidity of the pickling and the pickling time is strictly controlled. When the oxygen content and the surface brightness are good, the acidity and pickling time should be minimized.

Vacuum annealing

Annealing of the tantalum wire includes two parts, intermediate annealing and finished annealing. The purpose of intermediate annealing is to eliminate work hardening and improve the processing plasticity of the wire to continue stretching, while annealing is to achieve the desired properties of the finished product.

Tantalum has good plasticity at room temperature, and the work hardening tendency at room temperature is not large. The practice has shown that the billet produced by powder metallurgy can be processed until the total deformation rate is about 95%; the total deformation rate of the extruded billet by electron beam melting and consumable arc melting can reach more than 99%. After the recrystallization annealing, the plasticity of tantalum at room temperature is completely recovered.

Wire rewinding

In order to facilitate the material leaving the factory after the wire has been annealed, it is generally necessary to rewind on a certain winding machine. When rewinding, it is necessary to prevent the surface from being stained or scratched and to prevent twisting.

Stanford Advanced Materials supplies high-quality tantalum products to meet our customers’ R&D and production needs. Please visit for more information.

How is Tantalum Used in the Military Industry?

The inner covering of the gun body

When gunpowder is exploded, it produces a tail flame with a temperature of 2500 ~ 3500K and a pressure of 300 ~ 800MPa. The tail flame contains such corrosive components as H2S, CO, O2, H2, H2O, N2, and powder residue particles. Therefore, the gun barrel will undergo the physical and chemical effects of high-temperature and high-pressure gunpowder gas (the thermal effect of high-temperature gas, the scouring of high-speed airflow, the corrosion of gunpowder gas residue in the bore, and the wear of high-speed moving projectile on the inner wall) when the projectile is launched. Under this working condition, the gun barrel bore will be subjected to severe ablative erosion and wear, which will lead to the change in the geometry and size of the barrel bore, which will directly affect the firing accuracy of the gun and the life of the barrel.

military industry

Therefore, the research on ablative behavior and protection of gun barrels has received extensive attention. The main considerations of gun barrel material are thermal properties, including heat resistance, thermal expansion, thermal conductivity, and thermal shock resistance; mechanical properties, including elastic modulus, mechanical strength, and hardness; chemical stability, that is, the chemical stability of materials in high temperature and corrosive atmosphere.

Tantalum (Ta) has good physical and chemical properties. It is a high melting point (2996℃) refractory metal, with low thermal conductivity (57W/m℃), good chemical corrosion resistance (acid, salt, and organic chemical corrosion resistance at high temperature), and excellent ablative resistance, as well as good plastic and toughness. Tantalum or tantalum alloy coating is considered to be an ideal coating system to replace the electroplating Cr coating for ablative and scour resistance. If the tantalum layer is to be used in the gun barrel for the purpose of gas ablation of fire retardant for a long time, the sputtering Ta layer should be mainly composed of alpha-ta with a thickness of at least 75 microns. The coating should have enough binding force with the substrate in all directions to resist the thermal shock and high shear stress in the gun firing process.

The cylindrical magnetron sputtering tantalum technology was proposed by Benet Laboratories of the United States army for the dimension characteristics of the gun barrel; Also, the trial production of cylindrical magnetron sputtering deposition technology platform for 120mm, 155mm, and 105mm sputtering full-length large-caliber gun tubes were built in Waterfleet Arsenal, which was used for the magnetron sputtering full-bore tantalum plating for Abrams, Crusader, and future combat systems.

In the Bennett experiment of the US army, Vigilante et al. prepared pure tantalum ablative resistant layer in a 25mm rifled gun barrel and 120mm smooth rifled gun barrel bore by using explosive spraying technology. It was found that the bonding between the tantalum layer and the base metal was good, but the adiabatic shear band would appear in the base steel of the body tube and a Ta-Fe brittle intermetallic compound phase would be formed.

Armor-piercing projectile

In the 1980s, a new type of warhead, the explosively formed penetrator, was successfully developed, mainly using tantalum on the butterfly bushing next to the high explosive. When the explosive is detonated, the butterfly disc morphs into a long, steady, sliver of a penetrator, accelerating towards its target.

With the development of armor materials, modern anti-armor warhead has higher and higher requirements on the materials of explosive forming munition type hood. The formation of a longer and more stable jet requires high density, high sound velocity, good thermal conductivity, and high dynamic fracture elongation. In addition, it is required that the material has a fine grain, low recrystallization temperature, certain texture, and other microstructure.

Tantalum and depleted uranium have high density, high dynamic elongation, and arson. Especially, tantalum has a high density (16.6g/cm3) and good dynamic characteristics, which is a kind of material mainly used in the research of explosive forming ammunition types. As a material of explosively formed munitions, tantalum is widely used in TOW-2B, TOW-NG, and other U.S. missiles. Ballistic experiments show that tantalum’s affinity is 30%~35% higher than that of copper, and can reach 150mm.

At present, the research on using tantalum as the coating material mainly focuses on improving the processing technology and saving the cost. Among them, the United States Army Equipment Research and Development Center (ARDEC) uses the P/M method to develop explosively formed tantalum cartridge type housing; Two kinds of tantalum powders, PM2 and PM4, are pressed by static pressure, sintered, extruded, and processed into blank material, and then annealed and forged by rotary forging, tantalum cartridge prepared in this way can be successfully applied to a well-shaped explosive forming projectile; German Smart-155mm end-sensitive projectile is one of the most advanced end-sensitive projectiles in the world today. The missile is made of a thin-wall structure, and its sensitive device has high anti-interference ability, which can work normally in fog or a bad environment; The BONUS-155mm dexterous shell, jointly developed by the Swedish Bofors Company and the ground weapon group, has been mass-produced and is suitable for 45-caliber artillery.

High purity materials are required for the electrochemical cover of explosive forming. Trace elements have a great influence on the physical properties of the cover material, and ultimately affect the penetration depth of the projectile. The purity of tantalum has an influence on the strength, crystal structure, and length of the explosive forming projectile (EFP). Therefore, the purity of tantalum shall be strictly controlled in the preparation process.

Ultra-high vacuum aspirating material

Ultra-high vacuum aspirating material (tantalum alloy) is used in night vision equipment in conventional defense weapons. Using 15% tantalum as the framework and titanium as the adsorbent of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, neon, and other gases can improve the service life of the inspiratory material. This material can be applied to the infrared camera tube in the active infrared night-vision instrument and the low-light tube in the passive low-light night vision instrument, to ensure the long-term high vacuum in the vacuum tube, so as to achieve the high efficiency, high-life span and improve the definition of the night vision instrument.

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