<chemistry> A rare nonmetallic element found in certain minerals, as tantalite, samarskite, and fergusonite, and isolated as a dark powder which becomes steel-gray by burnishing. Symbol Ta. Atomic weight 182.0. Formerly called also tantalium.

Origin: NL. So named on account of the perplexity and difficulty encounterd by its discoverer (Ekeberg) in isolating it. See Tantalus.

(01 Mar 1998)

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