a hard, gray, ductile, corrosion-resistant, metallic chemical element found in various minerals and used in making nuclear reactors, chemical equipment, missiles, electronic components, etc.: symbol, Ta; at. no. 73
Origin of tantalumModL: so named (1802) by its discoverer, A. G. Ekeberg (1767-1813), Swedish chemist ; from Classical Greek Tantalos, Tantalus (its insolubility in most acids made extraction from the mineral tantalizing) + -(i)um
A very hard, dense, gray metallic element that occurs chiefly in columbite-tantalite and is exceptionally resistant to chemical attack below 150°C. It is used to make electrolytic capacitors for portable electronic and computing devices; superalloys for aircraft, missile, and nuclear reactor parts; filaments; and surgical instruments. Atomic number 73; atomic weight 180.948; melting point 3,017°C; boiling point 5,458°C; specific gravity 16.4; valence 2, 3, 4, 5. See Periodic Table.
Origin of tantalumNew Latin, from Latin Tantalus, Tantalus (from its high resistance to absorbing acids even when immersed in them); see Tantalus.
- A metallic chemical element (symbol Ta) with an atomic number of 73.