What Is Tantalum? A Rare Material Found By IIT Ropar In Sutlej River

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar have found the presence of tantalum in the sand of the Sutlej river in Punjab. Tantalum is a rare metal. 

This discovery has been made by the team led by Dr. Resmi Sebastian, Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department of the institute. According to experts, the presence of tantalum is important not only for Punjab but also for India. The reason is that this metal is widely used in electronics and semiconductors.

What is Tantalum?

Tantalum is a rare metal. Its atomic number is 73. Its color is grey and is heavy and very hard. It is one of the most corrosion-resistant metals in use today. When exposed to air it forms an oxide layer. It is very difficult to remove it. Even if it interacts with strong and hot acid environments.

Tantalum is flexible. This means that it can be transformed into thin wire or thread without breaking just like gold. 

Source: Wikipedia

Reason behind the name “Tantalum”

This rare metal was named after the Greek mythological character Tantalus. He was the rich but evil king of a city atop Mount Sipylus in Anatolia. Tantalus is known for the terrible punishment he received from Zeus. Tantalus then tried to serve his son at a feast to the gods. 

The king was exiled to the underworld, where he stood forever in a pond of water. Bunches of fresh fruits were hung on his head. Whenever he tried to drink water, it became less. Whenever he tried to pluck the fruit, the branches would bend backwards. This name was chosen because of tantalum’s insolubility in acids. Thus when it is placed between acids it does not accept any of them.

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