Tantalum is a rare, hard, blue-gray, shiny transition metal that is highly resistant to corrosion.
Protons and Neutrons in Tantalum
Tantalum is a chemical element with atomic number 73 which means there are 73 protons in its nucleus. Total number of protons in the nucleus is called the atomic number of the atom and is given the symbol Z. The total electrical charge of the nucleus is therefore +Ze, where e (elementary charge) equals to 1,602 x 10-19 coulombs.
The total number of neutrons in the nucleus of an atom is called the neutron number of the atom and is given the symbol N. Neutron number plus atomic number equals atomic mass number: N+Z=A. The difference between the neutron number and the atomic number is known as the neutron excess: D = N – Z = A – 2Z.
For stable elements, there is usually a variety of stable isotopes. Isotopes are nuclides that have the same atomic number and are therefore the same element, but differ in the number of neutrons. Mass numbers of typical isotopes of Tantalum are 181.
Main Isotopes of Tantalum
Tantalum occurs in 2 natural isotopes: 180mTa and 181Ta. 181Ta is the most common isotope, having a natural abundance of approximately 99,9%.
Tantalum-180m is composed of 73 protons, 107 neutrons, and 73 electrons.
Tantalum-181 is composed of 73 protons, 108 neutrons, and 73 electrons.
Electrons and Electron Configuration
The number of electrons in an electrically-neutral atom is the same as the number of protons in the nucleus. Therefore, the number of electrons in neutral atom of Tantalum is 73. Each electron is influenced by the electric fields produced by the positive nuclear charge and the other (Z – 1) negative electrons in the atom.
Since the number of electrons and their arrangement are responsible for the chemical behavior of atoms, the atomic number identifies the various chemical elements. The configuration of these electrons follows from the principles of quantum mechanics. The number of electrons in each element’s electron shells, particularly the outermost valence shell, is the primary factor in determining its chemical bonding behavior. In the periodic table, the elements are listed in order of increasing atomic number Z.
Electron configuration of Tantalum is [Xe] 4f14 5d3 6s2.
Possible oxidation states are +5.
Most Common Compound of Tantalum
Compounds of tantalum such as tantalum pentoxide is used to make capacitors and glass with a high index of refraction for use in camera lenses. A typical tantalum capacitor is a chip capacitor and consists of tantalum powder pressed and sintered into a pellet as the anode of the capacitor, with the oxide layer of tantalum pentoxide as a dielectric, and a solid manganese dioxide electrolyte as the cathode.
|Number of protons||73|
|Number of neutrons (typical isotopes)||181|
|Number of electrons||73|
|Electron configuration||[Xe] 4f14 5d3 6s2|
Properties of other elements