Separation of niobium and tantalum - a literature survey

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Date
1956-08-15
Authors
Koerner, Ernest
Smutz, Morton
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Abstract

During recent years increased interest has been shown in the metal niobium. Because niobium has a high melting point (4376° F) and a low neutron cross-section, the Atomic Energy Commission has encouraged research on new methods of winning the metal from its ores with the ultimate hope of finding a process which would yield niobium metal at a reasonable price. The two areas of endeavor in which·the principal difficulties in finding such an economic process occur are the separation of tantalum from the niobium and the conversion of purified niobium salts to the metal. This report, then, was written to consolidate the more important information available in the literature on one of these troublesome areas, that of the separation of niobium and tantalum. It is to be noted, however, that all the references available in the literature on niobium-tantalum separation are not included in this report, but only those which appear to have the most usefulness for future endeavors on this problem.

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