# Tantalum – Atomic Number – Atomic Mass – Density of Tantalum

## Atomic Number of Tantalum

Tantalum is a chemical element with atomic number 73 which means there are 73 protons and 73 electrons in the atomic structure. The chemical symbol for Tantalum is Ta.

Since the number of electrons is responsible for the chemical behavior of atoms, the atomic number identifies the various chemical elements.

How does the atomic number determine the chemical behavior of atoms?

## Atomic Mass of Tantalum

Atomic mass of Tantalum is 180.9479 u.

Note that each element may contain more isotopes. Therefore this resulting atomic mass is calculated from naturally-occurring isotopes and their abundance.

The unit of measure for mass is the atomic mass unit (amu). One atomic mass unit is equal to 1.66 x 10-24 grams. One unified atomic mass unit is approximately the mass of one nucleon (either a single proton or neutron) and is numerically equivalent to 1 g/mol.

For 12C, the atomic mass is exactly 12u, since the atomic mass unit is defined from it. For other isotopes, the isotopic mass usually differs and is usually within 0.1 u of the mass number. For example, 63Cu (29 protons and 34 neutrons) has a mass number of 63, and an isotopic mass in its nuclear ground state is 62.91367 u.

There are two reasons for the difference between mass number and isotopic mass, known as the mass defect:

1. The neutron is slightly heavier than the proton. This increases the mass of nuclei with more neutrons than protons relative to the atomic mass unit scale based on 12C with equal numbers of protons and neutrons.
2. The nuclear binding energy varies between nuclei. A nucleus with greater binding energy has lower total energy, and therefore a lower mass according to Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence relation E = mc2. For 63Cu, the atomic mass is less than 63, so this must be the dominant factor.

The atomic mass number determines especially the atomic mass of atoms. The mass number is different for each different isotope of a chemical element.

How does the atomic mass determine the density of materials?

## Density of Tantalum

Density of Tantalum is 16.65g/cm3.

Typical densities of various substances at atmospheric pressure.

Density is defined as the mass per unit volume. It is an intensive property, which is mathematically defined as mass divided by volume:

ρ = m/V

In other words, the density (ρ) of a substance is the total mass (m) of that substance divided by the total volume (V) occupied by that substance. The standard SI unit is kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3). The Standard English unit is pounds mass per cubic foot (lbm/ft3).

## Tantalum – Properties Summary

Element Tantalum
Atomic Number 73
Symbol Ta
Element Category Transition Metal
Phase at STP Solid
Atomic Mass [amu] 180.9479
Density at STP [g/cm3] 16.65
Electron Configuration [Xe] 4f14 5d3 6s2
Possible Oxidation States +5
Electron Affinity [kJ/mol] 31
Electronegativity [Pauling scale] 1.5
1st Ionization Energy [eV] 7.89
Year of Discovery 1802
Discoverer Ekeberg, Anders Gustav
Thermal properties
Melting Point [Celsius scale] 2996
Boiling Point [Celsius scale] 5425
Thermal Conductivity [W/m K] 57
Specific Heat [J/g K] 0.14
Heat of Fusion [kJ/mol] 31.6
Heat of Vaporization [kJ/mol] 743