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Tantalum

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE 

Context: Tantalum, a rare metal, has recently been discovered in the Sutlej River by an IIT Ropar team

 

More about News:

What is Tantalum? It is a grey, heavy, and highly corrosion-resistant element with the atomic number 73
Discovery:Tantalum is a rare metal which was first discovered in 1802 by Swedish chemist Anders Gustaf Ekenberg.
Properties:Grey, heavy, highly corrosion-resistant
Forms an oxide layer when exposed to air
Ductile, allowing stretching into thin wires
Extremely resistant to chemical attack at temperatures below 150°C
High melting point, exceeded only by tungsten and rhenium.
Uses of Tantalum:Capacitors in the electronic sector for compact energy storage.
Component in chemical plants, nuclear power plants, aircraft, and missiles.
Substitute for platinum due to its high melting point.
Used in medical applications for surgical equipment and implants.
Composite with tantalum carbide (TaC) used in high-speed machine tool cutting edges.
Significance of Discovery:The discovery in the Sutlej River sand suggests a potential domestic source, reducing import dependence and benefiting India’s electronics and semiconductor industry.
India imports almost all of its Tantalum, mainly from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Democratic Republic of the Congo is the largest producer in the world.
Reserve in India Tantalum ore is available in India in the form of tantalite-columbite ore in mines in Bihar, Rajasthan, and Karnataka.
About Satluj River:It is the easternmost tributary of the Indus River and the longest of the five rivers in Punjab, northern India, and Pakistan (Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Satluj).
It is also known as Satadree, an antecedent river maintaining its original course despite topographic changes.
It rises on the north slope of the Himalayas in Lake La’nga in southwestern Tibet.

Sutlej River meets the Beas River in Harike in the Ferozpur district before entering Pakistan. The combined rivers then form the Panjnad, the link between the Five Rivers and the Indus.

It is home to Bhakra Dam and the Luhri Stage-I Hydro Electric Project  Flows from Tibet to India, meeting the Beas River in Punjab.