One of the main uses of tantalum is in the production of electronic components. An oxide layer, which forms on the surface of tantalum acts as an insulating layer. Because a very thin layer of tantalum can be used to coat other metals, a high capacitance- the ability of a system to store an electric charge- can be achieved in a small volume. This makes tantalum capacitors attractive for portable electronics such as mobile phones.
Tantalum causes no immune response in mammals, so it has found wide use in the making of surgical implants. It can replace bone, for example in skull plates and as foil or wire it connects torn nerves or as a woven gauze it binds abdominal muscle.
It is very resistant to corrosion and so is used in equipment for handling corrosive materials. It has also found uses as electrodes for neon lights, AC/DC rectifiers and in glass for special lenses.
Tantalum alloys can be extremely strong and have been used for turbine blades, rocket nozzles and nose caps for supersonic aircraft.