Tantalum is dark, dense, ductile, very hard, easily fabricated, and highly conductive of heat and electricity. The metal is renowned for its resistance to corrosion by acids and also has a very high melting point of 3017°C.
The major use for tantalum, as the metal powder, is in the production of electronic components, mainly capacitors and some high-power resistors. Because of the size and weight advantages, tantalum capacitors are attractive for portable telephones, pagers, personal computers, and automotive electronics.
Tantalum is also used to produce a variety of alloys that have high melting points, are strong and have good ductility. Alloyed with other metals, it is also used in making carbide tools for metalworking equipment and in the production of superalloys for jet engine components, chemical process equipment, nuclear reactors, and missile parts. Because of its ductility, tantalum can be drawn into fine wires or filaments, which are used for evaporating metals such as aluminium.
Due to the fact that it resists attack by body fluids and is nonirritating, tantalum is widely used in making surgical instruments and implants.