Tantalum: reactions of elements

Reaction of tantalum with air

Tantalum does not react with air under normal conditions. The surface of tantalum metal is protected by a thin oxide layer.

Reaction of tantalum with water

Tantalum does not react with water under normal conditions. The surface of tantalum metal is protected by a thin oxide layer.

Reaction of tantalum with the halogens

Tantalum does react with the halogens upon warming to form tantalum(V) halides. So, tantalum reacts with fluorine, F2, chlorine, Cl2, bromine, I2, and iodine, I2, to form respectively tantalum(V) bromide, TaF5, tantalum(V) chloride, TaCl5, tantalum(V) bromide, TaBr5, and tantalum(V) iodide, TaI5.

2Ta(s) + 5F2(g) → TaF5(s) [white]

2Ta(s) + 5Cl2(g) → TaCl5(l) [white]

2Ta(s) + 5Br2(g) → TaBr5(s) [pale yellow]

2Ta(s) + 5I2(g) → TaI5(s) [black]

Reaction of tantalum with acids

Tantalum appear not to be attacked by many acids at room temperature but does dissolve in hydrofluoric acid, HF, or oleum (a solution of sulphur trioxide, SO3, in sulphuric acid, H2SO4, also known as fuming sulphuric acid).

Reaction of tantalum with bases

Tantalum metal is attacked by molten alkali.

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