Tantalum Analysis and Usage

Introduction - Tantalum

Tantalum (Ta) is a material in high demand, especially for aerospace and electronics applications. The transition metal with atomic number 73 is a very hard substance with high electrical and heat conductivity. The dense and ductile material demonstrates superior corrosion resistance to acids and has a melting point of 3017 °C.

Tantalum mining is being performed in different regions of the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and the Middle East. The tantalum mining industry is experiencing a growth rate of 7% annually. The electronics industry represents 60% of total global tantalum consumption. Although the demand is high for tantalum, there is only a limited supply because of the complexity in its supply chain. Several artisanal mines are being operated in Central Africa, predominantly in the DRC, which are considered as an unreliable source as they leverage on cheap labor. The material sourced by this way is termed as ‘conflict tantalum.’ Hence, the electronics industry developed a Conflict Free Smelter program to eliminate unethical sources of raw materials from the supply chain.

The capital and energy costs are more for an industrial, socially responsible mining and its sites are often located remotely. For a while, the Kenticha mine in Ethiopia and the AMG Mibra mine in Brazil supplied tantalum to the international market. Today, the US, UK and EU officials have classified tantalum as a critical raw material. Tantalum analysis is a key step in the processing of the material. LSM Analytical Services is one such company which is familiar with tantalum and its derivatives and provides comprehensive tantalum analysis.

Tantalum Analysis

LSM Analytical is capable of analyzing four different tantalum compounds from various sources and markets. The following are the compounds and key testing parameters:

  • Tantalum pure metal – Oxygen and carbon content by LECO, and purity by XRF
  • Tantalum Carbide (TaC) – TaC content, impurities, particle size distribution and mineralogical composition by XRD, XRF, LECO and laser diffraction
  • Tantalite (Ta2O5) – Si, Al, Zr, Sn, Y, Ti, Mn, Fe, Ta, W, Th, U, and Nb content by XRF
  • Recycled Tantalum – Ag and Pb by ICP-OES; carbon and oxygen content by LECO; Th, U, Pb, Ta, Hf, Zr, Zn, Ca, P, Mg, Si, Al, Sn, Ti, V, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, W, Nb, Mo, and Cr

Applications of Tantalum

Tantalum is used in a myriad of applications, such as tantalum wire and powder for capacitors, in metallurgical products for pharmaceutical and chemical processing equipment, as a component of superalloys, semiconductors, in carbides for cutting instruments, and in oxides for specialty glass, to name a few.

Conclusion

The demand for tantalum is high, but its supply is limited due to the challenges in supply chain. Nevertheless, if a customer wants to analyze tantalum, LSM Analytical is there to provide the service.

About LSM Analytical Services

LSM Analytical Services provide rapid, reliable analytical data at economical cost.

LSM Analytical Services offer you the service through our modern Rotherham laboratory. The following are available:-

  • X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (XRF)
  • X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)
  • ICP Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES)
  • Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS)
  • Carbon, Sulphur, Nitrogen, Oxygen Analysers
  • Boron analysis by the Neutron Transmission method
  • Colorimetric and Volumetric Analysis
  • Particle Size Analysis
  • Surface Area Analysis

For many years LSM has specialised in manufacture and analysis of ferroalloys, metal powders, aluminium master alloys and glass/plastic polishing compounds.

Our laboratory operates a computerised sample registration and reporting facility, which guarantees the confidentiality of our customer's results. This first class service is available to you at competitive rates. We offer a high-quality analytical service, with rapid turn-around times (24 hours a day, 6 days a week), on a comprehensive list of analytical programmes.

If your particular needs are not listed we will be glad to discuss your requirements. If you have an analytical problem, contact our Laboratory Business Manager or Sales Administrator at the Rotherham Laboratory who will be pleased to discuss it with you.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by LSM Analytical Services.

For more information on this source, please visit LSM Analytical Services.

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