New Latin, from Latin Tantalus; from its inability to absorb acid
First Known Use: 1809
Medical Definition of TANTALUM
: a hard ductile gray-white acid-resisting metallic element of the vanadium family found combined in rare minerals and sometimes used in surgical implants and sutures—symbol Ta; see element table
Metallic chemical element, one of the transition elements, chemical symbol Ta, atomic number 73. It is a dense, hard, unreactive, silvery gray metal with an extremely high melting point (5,425 °F [2,996 °C]). Relatively rare, it occurs native in a few places. It is difficult to separate from niobium, the element above it in the periodic table, with which it shares many properties. The most important uses are in electrolytic capacitors, corrosion-resistant chemical equipment, dental and surgical instruments, tools, catalysts, components of electron tubes, rectifiers, and prostheses. Its compounds are relatively unimportant commercially; tantalum carbide is used in machine tools and dies.