tantalum-niobium international study center (t.i.c.) the trade association for the global tantalum and niobium industries. an international non-profit association founded in 1974 under belgian law.
the refining of tantalum from its ores is one of the more demanding separation processes in industrial metallurgy. the chief problem is that tantalum ores contain significant amounts of niobium which has chemical properties almost identical to those of ta. a large number of procedures have been developed to address this challenge.
low-tantalum tin slags on the other hand are first melted in an electric-arc furnace with the addition of a flux material and the tantalum-niobium content is collected as a ferroalloy. the tantalum-rich ore or ferroalloy is then crushed ground and decomposed in hydrofluoric acid.
niobium formerly known as columbium is a chemical element with the symbol nb (formerly cb) and atomic number 41. niobium is a light grey crystalline and ductile transition metal. pure niobium has a hardness similar to that of pure titanium [contradictory] and it has similar ductility to iron.
tantalum ore a natural mineral formation containing tantalum in compounds and quantities that make its industrial extraction technically feasible and economically expedient. a distinction is made between tantalum ores proper in which ta2o5:nb2o5 ≥ 1 and complex tantalum-niobium ores. the main minerals of tantalum ores are columbite-tantalite