Tantalum (Ta) – Periodic Table (Element Information & More)

Tantalum (Ta) element Periodic table

This is a SUPER easy guide on Tantalum element.

In fact, the table mentioned below is the perfect information box (Which gives you every single detail about the Tantalum element in Periodic table.)

So if you want to know anything about Tantalum element, then this guide is for you.

Let’s finish this very quickly.

Tantalum Element (Ta) Information

Appearance of Tantalum appearance of tantalum
Gray metallic with bluish tint
State of Tantalum at STPSolid
Position of Tantalum in Periodic tabletantalum in periodic table (Position)
Group: 5, Period: 6, Block: d
Category of Tantalum elementtantalum element category
Transition metals
Atomic number of Tantalum, or 
Protons in Tantalum
73
Neutrons in Tantalum108
Electrons in Tantalum73
Symbol of TantalumTa
Atomic mass of Tantalum tantalum (Ta) atomic mass
180.95 u
Electrons arrangement in Tantalum

or 

Bohr model of Tantalum
Bohr model of tantalum (Electrons arrangement in tantalum, Ta)
2, 8, 18, 32, 11, 2
Electronic configuration of Tantalum[Xe] 4f14 5d3 6s2
Atomic radius of TantalumTantalum (Ta) atomic radius
217 picometers (van der Waals radius)
1st Ionization energy of Tantalum7.89 eV
Electronegativity of Tantalum Electronegativity of Tantalum (Ta)
1.5 (Pauling scale)
Crystal structure of Tantalumcrystal structure of tantalum
BCC (Body centered cubic)
Melting point of Tantalum3290 K or 3017 °C or 5463 °F
Boiling point of Tantalum5731 K or 5458 °C or 9856 °F
Density of Tantalum16.65 g/cm3
Main isotope of Tantalum181Ta
Who discovered Tantalum and when?Anders Gustaf Ekeberg (in 1802)
CAS number7440-25-7

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Tantalum in Periodic table

Tantalum element is in group 5 and period 6 of the Periodic table. Tantalum is the d-block element and it belongs to transition metals group.

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Why is Tantalum in Period 6?

Why is Tantalum in Period 6

Let me ask you a question.

How many shells does a tantalum atom have?

It’s 6. Right? 

You have already seen the bohr model of tantalum atom in the above table.

From the Bohr model, it can be found that the number of orbits or shells in tantalum is 6. Hence, as tantalum has 6 orbits, it lies in period 6 of the Periodic table.

Why is Tantalum in d-block?

Why is Tantalum in d-block

Before knowing this reason, first of all I want to ask you a simple question.

How can you determine the blocks-wise position of elements?

The simple answer: The elements will lie in the s, p, d or f block will completely depend upon the subshell in which the last electron will enter.

For example; the electron configuration of tantalum is [Xe] 4f14 5d3 6s2

So the last electron of tantalum enters the d-subshell or d-orbital. 

Hence, tantalum is the d-block element.

Is Tantalum a Transition Metal? Why?

Is Tantalum a Transition Metal

Yes, Tantalum is a transition metal because it has incompletely filled d-orbital in its ground state.

Let me explain the exact meaning of this.

According to the definition of transition metals;
The element should compulsorily have incomplete d-orbitals, either in their ground state (M) or most common oxidation states (M1+, M2+, etc) then only they are called transition metals.

Now, the ground state of Tantalum means its normal state in which it has neither gained nor lost any electron/s.

So the ground state of Tantalum is Ta.

And the ground state electronic configuration of tantalum is [Xe] 4f14 5d3 6s2.

In this state, if we see the electron configuration of tantalum, then it possesses incomplete d-orbitals.

electron configuration of tantalum

Because, there are only three electrons in the d-orbitals (here 5d orbitals). 

In order to have the complete d-orbitals, there must be 10 electrons in it.

But in the ground state electronic configuration of tantalum, you can see that it has only 3 electrons in d-orbitals.

Thus, tantalum has incomplete d-orbitals.

And hence, as Tantalum has incomplete d-orbitals, it is considered as a transition metal.

5 Interesting facts about Tantalum

Interesting facts about tantalum element are mentioned below.

  1. The name “Tantalum” was derived from the name of the Greek mythological character “Tantalos”.
  2. Tantalum was discovered by Anders Gustaf Ekeberg in 1802.
  3. The concentration of tantalum in the earth’s crust is approximately 1.7 ppm by weight.
  4. Tantalum is mainly present in the minerals Columbite and Tantalite in the earth’s crust.
  5. Australia is the leading producer of tantalum in the world (According to a report of USGS). 

Properties of Tantalum

The physical and chemical properties of tantalum element are mentioned below.

Physical properties of Tantalum

Physical properties of tantalum are mentioned below.

  • Tantalum is a dense metal having a silvery gray metallic appearance with bluish tint.
  • Tantalum is also a ductile metal that can be drawn into thin wires.
  • Tantalum has a very high melting point and boiling point. The melting point of tantalum is 3017 °C and its boiling point is 5458 °C.
  • Tantalum is also a good conductor of heat and electricity.
  • Tantalum has many isotopes and out of those isotopes, the most abundant isotope is 181Ta (which has an abundance of approximately 99.9%).
  • The crystal structure of tantalum is BCC (Body centered cubic).

Chemical properties of Tantalum

Chemical properties of tantalum are mentioned below.

  • Tantalum is generally resistant to chemical reactions at room temperature.
  • Tantalum is also resistive to corrosion because of the oxide layer formed on it.
  • At room temperature, tantalum shows a chemical reaction with hydrofluoric acid.

Uses of Tantalum

Uses of tantalum are mentioned below.

  • In electronic industries, tantalum is used in manufacturing resistors as well as capacitors.
  • Tantalum is also used as an alloying element with other elements which increases the melting point of the alloy.
  • Tantalum oxides which contain tantalum in it are used to make camera lenses. These camera lenses have a higher refractive index.
  • As it is resistant to higher temperatures, it is used in parts of missiles as well as aircrafts.

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References:
Chemical data: Wikipedia, Chemspider
Tantalum element: Image by Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) via Wikimedia Commons

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