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 https://www.samaterials.com/ 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.

Anodizing

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

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 https://www.samaterials.com/ for more information.

Super Performances of Tantalum in the Electronics & Aerospace Industries

Tantalum has a series of excellent properties, such as high melting point, low vapor pressure, good cold processing performance, high chemical stability, as well as strong resistance to liquid metal corrosion, etc., it has important applications in high and new technology fields such as electronics, metallurgy, superconducting technology, automobile electronics, aerospace, medical treatment, and scientific research. The following is a brief introduction to the superb performances of tantalum in the electronics and aerospace industries.

tantalum powder

Electronics industry

In the electronic industry, tantalum is mainly used as tantalum capacitors, which are usually used in the form of capacitor-grade tantalum powder, tantalum wire, and tantalum foil. A tantalum capacitor is one of the indispensable electronic components of radar, aerospace aircraft and missiles, and it is widely used for civil use, such as mobile communication, electronic equipment, and instruments.

As the specific surface area of tantalum powder is large, the dielectric constant of the thin film of the dielectric body is large, so the capacitance is large, then the small large-capacity capacitors can be made. The electrolytic capacitors made of tantalum have the advantages of small size, lightweight, good reliability, wide operating temperature range, and long service life.

Tantalum electrolytic capacitors can be classified into solid electrolytic capacitors and liquid electrolytic capacitors, and they are mainly divided into two anode types: foil anode and sintered anode. Tantalum wire is used as the anode lead for both capacitors.

With the development of the electronic industry, the miniaturization and high reliability of tantalum capacitors are becoming increasingly strict. At present, the international commercial specific capacity of tantalum powder has reached more than 150,000 mu.F•V/g, and the laboratory has reached 30,000 mu.F•V/g.

Tantalum is also used as a material for electron tubes. Due to its high melting point, low real gas pressure, good processing performance, small linear expansion coefficient, and good inspiratory property, tantalum is a good material for launching tube and high-power electron tube parts.

Besides the above, tantalum target is an important material for magnetron sputtering coating of electronic chips due to its high chemical stability. You may check out more information at the specialized target website.

Aerospace industry

In addition to a large number of tantalum capacitors used in the aerospace industry, tantalum is also mainly used in high-temperature alloy and tantalum matrix heat-resistant alloy in the aerospace industry, especially in engines. High-performance alloys such as superalloy, corrosion-resistant alloy, and wear-resistant alloy can be made by adding tantalum to nickel base, cobalt base, and iron-base alloys.

Compared with niobium superalloy, tantalum superalloy has superior performance, higher heat resistance, and greater stress load. These alloys are mainly used as heat-resistant and high-strength structural materials for supersonic aircraft, solid propellant rockets, and missiles, as well as parts for control and adjustment devices. For example, the combustion chamber of the American Ajina Spacecraft is made of ta-10w alloy, and the flame temperature is very high (up to 2760℃) when its cover is small.

The aerospace industry is the second largest user of niobium and tantalum. Niobium and tantalum alloys, especially their superalloys and heat-resistant alloys based on them, are indispensable supporting materials for hot components of aircraft jet engines, rockets, spacecraft, and other vehicles.

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

What is the Prospect of New Tantalum Niobium Materials?

Rare metal material technology is one of the most important subjects in the field of material science and engineering in the new century, and it is the key material for the development of high and new technology, while tantalum niobium material plays an important role in this process. The development of modern high technology, such as information technology, new energy technology, space technology, biological technology, and superconducting technology, is closely related to rare metal materials, especially tantalum and niobium.

technology and media

Tantalum niobium materials have more and more development space in the field of high technology. Firstly, tantalum and niobium capacitors are expanded to the high-capacity field. Secondly, the cutting tools of cemented carbide are developing towards the direction of the super hard and fine tip, and the application market is expected to keep a steady climb. Thirdly, tantalum-niobium is applied in the aerospace industry, and tantalum-niobium alloys and other special alloys will continue to be developed steadily.

In recent years, the demand for special niobium steel continues to grow. Special superconducting materials will be widely used in magnet materials and high and new computing technologies, and are being further developed. New applications of tantalum and niobium materials will be developed continuously. According to the development process of the world’s high-tech industry, the tantalum and niobium industry will continue to grow by more than 12% in the next 5-10 years.

Main products and functional properties

At present, the main products of the tantalum and niobium industry include tantalum powder (capacitor grade, metallurgical grade), tantalum wire, tantalum carbide, tantalum, and tantalum alloy ingots, tantalum and tantalum alloy processing materials (tantalum plate, strip, tube, bar, wire), tantalum target material, tantalum oxide (industrial, optical glass, high purity), lithium tantalate single crystal; Niobium powder (capacitor grade, metallurgical grade) niobium sheet, niobium and its alloy ingots, niobium and its alloy adding materials (plate, strip, tube, rod, wire), niobium oxide (electrical grade, industrial, light glass, high purity), niobium carbide, lithium niobate single crystal, niobium and its alloy superconducting materials, etc.

About 60% of the world’s tantalum is used to make tantalum capacitors. Tantalum powder and wire are the key materials for manufacturing tantalum capacitors, which are widely used in mobile phones, computers, digital products, automobiles, aerospace electronics, and other fields. Tantalum and niobium targets are used in semiconductor devices and liquid crystal display technology, niobium oxide, niobium powder, and niobium wire are used in manufacturing ceramic capacitors and niobium capacitors.

Superalloys can be produced by adding tantalum or niobium to tungsten, molybdenum, nickel, cobalt, vanadium and iron-based alloys or by adding other metal elements to tantalum and niobium. Superalloys are important structural materials for aerospace engines, land-based airflow turbine engines, modern weapons, and harsh industrial environment facilities. Tools and drill tools made of carbides such as tantalum carbide and niobium carbide can withstand a high temperature of nearly 3000℃, and their hardness can be comparable with diamond.

Since niobium and tantalum have good superconductivity, adding niobium and tantalum into the materials used for making wires and cables can greatly reduce the loss of electric energy and thus save electric energy. Tantalum niobium is a high-quality material resistant to acid and liquid metal corrosion. It can be used in digesters, heaters, coolers, and various devices and utensils in the chemical industry. In addition, the tantalum niobium and its alloy can also be used as nuclear reactor cladding materials and high-energy physics superconducting devices. Moreover, tantalum is ideal bio-adaptive material and is widely used in medical surgery.

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

Tantalum VS Niobium

Tantalum and niobium belong to one family in the periodic table. Due to their similar physical and chemical properties, as well as growing together in the same ore body, they are known as the twin of metals.

ta vs nb

Tantalum and niobium were discovered in 1801 and 1802 by Charles Hatchett, a British chemist, and Ekberg, a Swedish chemist. Tantalum niobium ore is the main ore of tantalum and niobium, and a small amount of tantalum and niobium exist in tungsten and some rare earth ores.

Properties

Tantalum and niobium are both high-melting metals with melting points of 2996℃ and 2468℃ respectively. Tantalum and niobium have very stable chemical properties, not only insoluble in nitric acid, and hydrochloric acid, but also insoluble in aqua regia. Tantalum is malleable and can be pulled into strands thinner than human hair or rolled into foil thinner than paper. Tantalum and niobium are both excellent superconducting materials with characteristics of compression and wear resistance.

Applications

Tantalum and niobium are widely used in various fields because of their excellent properties mentioned above.

1. Capacitor

Tantalum can form a compact and stable amorphous oxide film with high dielectric strength, so it is easy to control the anodic oxidation process of the capacitor accurately and conveniently. Tantalum powder sintered blocks can obtain a large surface area in a small volume, so tantalum capacitors are the most excellent capacitors with small volume, large capacity, low leakage current, long service life, and excellent comprehensive performance. Under normal conditions, tantalum capacitors are smaller in size, higher in capacity, and more stable in function than ceramic capacitors, aluminum capacitors, and thin-film capacitors.

Tantalum capacitors have excellent characteristics that cannot be compared with many other capacitors. In the field of microelectronics science and surface mount technology, there is almost no other equivalent capacitor to compete with them. Therefore, 60~ 65% of tantalum is used in the manufacture of tantalum capacitors in the form of capacitor grade tantalum powder and tantalum wire.

Compared with tantalum, the main disadvantages of niobium capacitors are large leakage current (generally 5-10 times of tantalum), low breakdown voltage (< 10V), and low operating temperature (< 105℃), which are not suitable for capacitors with high-reliability requirements and high rated voltage. However, in the range of low voltage (< 10V) and large capacity (> 100muf), niobium capacitors may partially replace tantalum capacitors of the same level.

2. Metallurgical industry

In the metallurgical industry, niobium is mainly used to manufacture high-temperature resistant alloy steel and improve the strength of steel. In the smelting of carbon steel, the strength of the steel can be increased by more than one-third by adding only a few parts per million of niobium. Superalloys made of niobium, tantalum, tungsten, aluminum, nickel, cobalt, vanadium, and other metals are good structural materials for supersonic jet aircraft, rockets, and missiles.

3. Mechanical industry

In the mechanical industry, the cutting tool made of carbides such as niobium carbide and tantalum carbide can withstand a high temperature of nearly 3000℃, and its hardness can be comparable with that of the diamond, the hardest substance in the world.

4. Biomedical industry

Tantalum is an ideal bio-adaptive material in medicine. When it comes in direct contact with human bones, muscle tissues, and fluids, it can adapt to biological cells and has an excellent affinity with almost no human stimulation and side effects. Tantalum can not only be used to make bone plates, screws and clamping rods for fracture treatment, but also can be directly used to repair bones with tantalum plates and pieces and replace broken bones due to trauma with tantalum strips. Tantalum wire and foil can be used to suture nerves, muscles and blood vessels above 1.5 mm, while the extremely thin tantalum wire can replace tendons and even nerve fibers.

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

Why Do Electrolytic Capacitors Explode?

If you want to know why the electrolytic capacitor explodes, first you have to know what the electrolytic capacitor is. An electrolytic capacitor is a kind of capacitance. The metal foil is the positive electrode (aluminum foil or tantalum foil), and the oxide film (aluminum oxide or tantalum oxide), which is closely attached to the metal, is the dielectric. The cathode consists of conductive material, electrolyte (which can be liquid or solid), and other materials. Because the electrolyte is the main part of the cathode, the electrolytic capacitor is hence named. At the same time, the capacitance of the electrolytic capacitor cannot be connected wrongly.

capacitors explode

Tantalum electrolytic capacitor mainly consists of sintering solid, foil winding solid, sintering liquid, and so on. The sintered solids account for more than 95% of the current production and are mainly composed of non-metallic sealed resin.

The aluminum electrolytic capacitor can be divided into four types: the lead type aluminum electrolytic capacitor; Horn type aluminum electrolytic capacitor; Bolted aluminum electrolytic capacitor; Solid aluminum electrolytic capacitor.

The possible reasons for the capacitor explosion are as follows:

  1. The breakdown of the internal components of the capacitor is mainly due to the poor manufacturing process.
  2. The capacitor is damaged by insulation to the shell. The high voltage side of the capacitor is made of a thin steel sheet. If the manufacturing process is poor, the edge is uneven with burr or serious bend. The tip is prone to corona, and the corona causes the breakdown of oil, the expansion of the case and the drop of oil. In addition, when the cover is closed, if the welding time is too long, the internal insulation burns and produces oil and gas, causing the voltage to drop greatly and damage.
  3. Poor sealing and oil leakage. The insulation resistance is reduced due to the poor sealing of the assembly casing. Or the oil spill caused the oil surface to drop, resulting in the extreme shell direction discharge or component breakdown.
  4. The belly and the inside dissociate. Due to the internal corona, breakdown discharge, and serious dissociation, under the action of overvoltage, the starting free voltage of the element is reduced to the working electric field intensity. This causes the physical, chemical and electrical effects to accelerate the aging and decomposition of the insulation, producing gas and forming a vicious circle, the pressure of the case is increased, causing the drum to explode
  5. A capacitor explodes with an electric charge. All capacitors with rated voltages are forbidden to be charged. Each time the capacitor bank recloses, the capacitor must be discharged for 3min after the switch is disconnected. Otherwise, the voltage polarity of the closing moment may be caused by the opposite polarity of the residual charge on the capacitor. For this purpose, a capacitor bank with a capacity of more than 160kvar is generally required, and automatic tripping device should be installed when there is no pressure. And the capacitor bank switches are not allowed to install automatic reclosing.

In addition, it may be caused by high temperature, poor ventilation, high operating voltage, excessive voltage harmonic component or operating overvoltage, etc.

Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) is a leading supplier and manufacturer of high-quality capacitor grade tantalum powder and tantalum wire with competitive price and great delivery time. Please visit http://www.samaterials.com for more information.

Applications of Tantalum in the Electronic Industry

Tantalum and its alloy have a high melting point, corrosion resistance, excellent high-temperature strength, and are free of radioactive, etc, are widely used in the electronics industry, chemical industry, aerospace, weapon system, the medical field, etc. Applications of tantalum materials in the electronic industry mainly include tantalum capacitors, integrated circuits, electron tubes, storage devices, and passive devices.

tantalum

Tantalum Capacitors

Tantalum capacitors have strong corrosion resistance and can maintain stable electrical and physical and chemical properties under various environmental conditions. In addition, it also has a high resistance rate (7.5 x 1012 Ω cm), a large dielectric constant (27.6), and a small leakage current.

Tantalum Capacitors
Tantalum Capacitors

Tantalum has the characteristics of a valve metal, and the dense oxide film generated on its surface has unidirectional conductivity, which is suitable for capacitors. Tantalum capacitors are large in capacity and small in volume. Their capacitance is three times that of aluminum capacitors, while their volume is much smaller than that of aluminum capacitors. The tantalum capacitor has a working temperature range of 80 ~ 200 ℃, so it can meet the demand of different temperatures. In addition, tantalum capacitors also have strong stability and heat resistance, which makes them highly reliable materials in the electronics industry, as well as widely used in military and high-tech fields that need to ensure high reliability.

Integrated circuit

Tantalum has been introduced into the semiconductor industry as a barrier layer film material to prevent the diffusion of copper atoms to silicon wafers. Copper does not form a compound with tantalum and nitrogen, so tantalum and tantalum base films are used as a barrier layer to prevent the diffusion of copper. In order to prevent copper atoms from diffusing into silicon matrix, tantalum nitride, tantalum silicide, tantalum carbide, tantalum nitride silicide, tantalum nitride carbide, and other tantalum base films are used as barrier layers with good effects.

Tantalum-based films have high conductivity, high thermal stability, and excellent corrosion resistance, which are highly resistant to foreign atoms.

Tantalum
Tantalum in Semiconductor Chips

Memory device

Tantalum oxide based resistance variable memory (RRAM) has the advantages of simple structure, fast reading and writing speed, strong miniaturization and compatibility with the CMOS process. Tantalum oxide material has good thermal stability that can reach 1100 ℃. There are only two stable phases between the tantalum and oxygen, namely Ta2O5 and TaO2, which also have two very high oxygen capacity ratio under the high temperature of 1000 ℃.

Passive device

When tantalum nitride film is exposed to air, an oxide layer will naturally form on the surface to protect the film from erosion in the presence of water vapor and voltage. Tantalum nitride chip resistors do not cause catastrophic failure of the device due to poor package or protective coating integrity.

At present, the application field of capacitor grade tantalum wire is further expanded with the rapid development of the electronic market. However, the development of tantalum capacitors has been greatly restricted due to various reasons, such as the increase in production cost, the further consumption of resources, and the intensified competition among ceramic capacitors.

Please visit http://www.samaterials.com for more information.

Why is Tantalum Widely Used in Electronic Industry?

Since the 1950s, TZM alloy (Mo-0.5 Ti-0.1 Zr-0.02 C) has been developed to meet the needs of the nuclear power system, aviation, and aerospace industry. It is the most widely used molybdenum alloy in the industry and the earliest refractory alloy used as a high-temperature structural material. However, the low-temperature brittleness of molybdenum alloy greatly limits its application.

tantalum metal

Tantalum metal has a lower plastic brittle transition temperature (196 ℃) and has better performance on the workability, weldability, ductility, and oxidation resistance at room temperature than that of molybdenum and tungsten in refractory metals. In addition, tantalum and its alloys with high melting point (2996 ℃), corrosion resistance, excellent high-temperature strength, and free of radioactive, etc, are widely used in the electronics industry, chemical industry, aerospace, weapon system, and the medical field, etc.

Tantalum metal
Tantalum metal

The applications of tantalum materials in the electronics industry mainly include tantalum capacitors, integrated circuits, electron tubes, memory devices, and passive devices.

Tantalum capacitor

Tantalum has the metal property of a valve, and the compact oxide film formed on its surface has unidirectional conductivity, which is suitable for making capacitors. Tantalum capacitors have a large capacity and small volume, and their capacitance is three times that of aluminum capacitors, but their volume is much smaller than that of aluminum capacitors. The working temperature of the tantalum capacitor ranges from -80 to 200 ℃, which can meet the demand of different temperatures. Besides, tantalum capacitors have strong stability and heat resistance performance and become a kind of material with high reliability in the electronics industry, which is widely used in military and high-tech fields that need to ensure high reliability.

Tantalum capacitor
Tantalum capacitor

Integrated circuit

Tantalum material is introduced into the semiconductor industry as a barrier layer thin-film material used to prevent the diffusion of copper atoms to silicon wafers. There are no compounds are formed between copper and tantalum, and copper and nitride, so tantalum and tantalum base membranes are used as barrier layers to prevent copper diffusion, and the typical thickness of the barrier layer is 0.005 ~ 0.01μm. In order to prevent the diffusion of copper atoms into the silicon matrix, tantalum nitride, tantalum silicide, tantalum carbide, and silicon nitride are used as barrier layers.

Memory device

Tantalum oxide matrix resistive memory (RRAM) has the advantages of simple structure, fast read and write speed, strong instability, and compatibility with the CMOS process. The permittivity of tantalum oxide material is very high, which is about 25. Moreover, there are only two stable phases between ta-O, Ta2O5 and TaO2, which have high oxygen capacity ratio under the high temperature of 1000 ℃.

Passive device

When tantalum nitride film is exposed to air, the surface will naturally form a layer of the oxide layer to protect the film from erosion in the presence of water vapor and voltage. The chip resistance of tantalum nitride will not cause catastrophic failure of the device due to the poor integrity of the package or protective coating.

RRAM
RRAM

When researchers discovered tantalum’s high-temperature resistance, good ductility, and corrosion resistance, the research on tantalum metal began. At present, the application field of capacitor grade tantalum wire is further expanded with the rapid development of the electronic market. However, the development of tantalum capacitors is greatly restricted due to various reasons, such as the increase in production cost, the further consumption of resources, and the intensification of the competition between ceramic and other capacitors.

In recent years, the market consumption of capacitor tantalum wire has been maintained at about 160 tons per year. With the development and use of military capacitors and the miniaturization and chip type of capacitors, the capacitor-grade tantalum wire gradually develops toward the thick and thin poles.

Please visit http://www.samaterials.com for more information.

Tantalum Processing Materials used in the Electronics Industry

With the advent of the era of big data, the storage of big data has become a matter of concern. Tantalum materials are developing at an amazing speed in today’s rapid development of the electronics industry.

tantalum target

Tantalum capacitors

Tantalum capacitors are one the indispensable electronic components for radar, aerospace aircraft, and missiles, and are widely used in civil applications, such as mobile communication, electronic equipment, instruments, and other aspects. On the contrary, the development of the electronic industry requires more and more stringent miniaturization and high reliability of tantalum capacitors.

Tantalum capacitors
Tantalum capacitors

Capacitor grade tantalum wire

Capacitor grade tantalum wire is used to make anode lead of tantalum electrolytic capacitor, and its advantages are high permittivity of the oxide film and high reliability. Compared with metallurgical tantalum wire, capacitor grade tantalum wire has high chemical purity, good surface finish, and anti-oxygen brittleness. Using tantalum powder as raw material, capacitor tantalum wire is made by powder metallurgy method after forming tantalum bar, and then through rolling, drawing, and other metal plastic processing. As a result, its surface is smooth and clean, and no grooves, burrs or other defects.

Capacitor grade tantalum wire
Capacitor grade tantalum wire

The important performance indexes of capacitor-grade tantalum wire include tensile strength, linearity, chemical composition, leakage current, etc. The diameter of the capacitor-grade tantalum is generally between Φ0.15 mm to Φ1.0 mm, and the tensile strength is between 400mpa and 1700mpa.

Tantalum target

The purity of the tantalum target is 99.95%, the surface is smooth, the grain diameter is less than 100μm, and the grain texture is mainly [111] type texture. Because of its high conductivity, high thermal stability, and barrier to foreign atoms, tantalum can be used as a barrier layer to prevent copper from diffusing into silicon. As electrode materials and surface engineering materials, tantalum target has been widely used in liquid crystal display (LCD) and heat-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and highly conductive coating industries.

Tantalum target
Tantalum target

Tantalum sputtering target material has become a key raw material in the semiconductor industry, which is irreplaceable and has a broad application prospect. The tantalum sputtering target is completed by physical vapor deposition. The specific process includes high-pressure accelerated gaseous ions bombarding the tantalum target surface, enabling the atoms on the target surface to get enough energy and break free, sputtering on the silicon chip, and finally forming the precise wiring structure in the semiconductor chip with photolithography, corrosion, and other processes. Tantalum material can be used for various thin-film applications, as diffusion barrier material applied to memory devices, such as gate electrodes of MOSFET devices and protective coating on printing head devices.

Please visit http://www.samaterials.com for more information.

What are the Medical Applications of Tantalum?

Metal materials have excellent comprehensive mechanical properties and anti-fatigue properties and are especially suitable for bone replacement implantation of human-bearing parts. Therefore, many kinds of metal materials such as stainless steel, titanium alloy, and cobalt-base alloy have been widely used in the clinic as biomedical materials and have achieved a good therapeutic effect.

tantalum stents

However, the complex human body environment will lead to corrosion of materials and the release of toxic elements, which will lead to the reduced biocompatibility of metal materials. In addition, the elastic modulus of the metal material is too different from human bone tissue, and it is easy to produce a stress shielding effect, which is not conducive to the growth and remodeling of new bone and even leads to secondary fracture.

At present, tantalum metal attracts the attention of medical workers and materials researchers with its unique advantages and is widely used in the following aspects.

biomedical materials
Biomedical materials

Tantalum wire

Tantalum is so malleable that it can be made into even finer strands of hair. As a surgical suture, tantalum wire has the advantages of simple sterilization, less stimulation, and high tensile strength, but it also has the disadvantages of not easy knotting. Tantalum wire can be used to suture bone, tendon, and fascia, as well as reduce suture or internal dental fixation. It can also be used as a suture line for internal surgery or embedded in artificial eyeballs. Moreover, tantalum wire can even replace tendons and nerve fibers.

Tantalum sheet

Tantalum metal can be made into tantalum sheets of various shapes and sizes and implanted according to the needs of various parts of the human body, such as repairing and sealing the cracks and defects of broken skull bones and limbs fractures. An artificial ear made from tantalum sheets is attached to the head before the skin is transplanted. After a while, the new skin grew so well that it was barely visible as an artificial tantalum ear.

Tantalum stents

Tantalum wire can be used to weave the reticulocytes stent. Tantalum stent can be clearly seen under X-ray, which is very convenient for monitoring and follow-up, and there is no fracture and corrosion in the body for a long time. Tantalum has good flexibility, so the stents can better adapt to the normal pulse of arteries and can be released quickly and accurately.

Tantalum stents

Porous tantalum rod

Porous tantalum rod is a kind of honeycomb three-dimensional rod-shaped structure with characteristics of the human cancellous bone structure, with an average porosity of 430~m and a porosity of 75 ~ 80. The elastic modulus of the porous tantalum rod is about 3GPa, which is between the cancellous bone (about 1GPa) and cortical bone (about 15GPa), far lower than the commonly used titanium alloy implanted human material (about 11OGPa), thus avoiding the stress shielding effect.

Porous tantalum rod implantation is mainly used for the treatment of avascular necrosis of the femoral head in the early and middle stages. Femoral head necrosis is a kind of functional disease caused by the destruction of the blood circulation of the femoral head. It may affect the function at any age, but it usually occurs in young people. For the treatment of early femoral head necrosis, the main methods include reducing the internal pressure of the femoral head, increasing the blood supply of the femoral head, and preventing or slowing the deformation of the femoral head. The porous tantalum rod has a good supporting effect on the necrotic area of the femoral head, avoids the collapse of the femoral head, and has the potential for revascularization in the necrotic area of the femoral head.

Porous tantalum artificial joint

As an artificial joint material, the porous tantalum also has obvious advantages. The porous tantalum has a certain elasticity. When it interacts with the cortical bone with a relatively large elastic modulus, it will produce slight deformation in a certain range without fracture. This property allows the porous tantalum acetabular cover to better match the bone acetabular, improving the initial stability of the implant and reducing the possibility of acetabular fractures.

The results of the clinical experiment of total knee replacement with porous tantalum showed that the structure of porous tantalum provided sufficient support, and the patient’s bone healed well. In addition, the reduction of bone mineral salt density in patients using tantalum total knee replacement is smaller than that in patients using the cobalt-chromium alloy, but the long-term clinical effect remains to be further studied. Due to the inertia of tantalum itself and the appropriate mechanical properties and good biocompatibility of porous tantalum with the human body, porous tantalum will play a greater role in the field of artificial joints.

Porous tantalum artificial joint
Porous tantalum artificial joint

Porous tantalum filler material

Porous tantalum can also be used as filling material for all parts of the human body, such as tissue reconstruction after tumor resection, dissolving filling of the neck and lumbar spine, and vertebral arch replacement. Because of the nearly perfect fusion of porous tantalum in mechanical properties, tissue growth, and processing properties, it provides a wide design space for the molding of porous tantalum.

Tantalum coating

Tantalum metal has been used for its excellent corrosion resistance, and it is coated on the surface of some medical metal materials to prevent the release of toxic elements and improve the biocompatibility of the metal materials, as well as the visibility of materials in the human body. In addition to metallic materials, tantalum can be coated on non-metallic materials such as carbon cage surface tantalum for spinal fusion, the tantalum coating increases the strength and toughness of the carbon cage to fit the spine and better meet the requirements of the surgical process. Tantalum can also be coated on the surface of materials with some polymer composites to improve the visibility and biocompatibility of materials.

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