Tantalum is a chemical element with the symbol Ta and atomic number 73. Previously known as tantalium, it is named after Tantalus, a figure in Greek mythology. Tantalum is a very hard, ductile, lustrous, blue-gray transition metal that is highly corrosion-resistant. It is part of the refractory metals group, which are widely used as components of strong high-melting-point alloys. It is a group 5 element, along with vanadium and niobium, and it always occurs in geologic sources together with the chemically similar niobium, mainly in the mineral groups tantalite, columbite and coltan.
The chemical inertness and very high melting point of tantalum make it valuable for laboratory and industrial equipment such as reaction vessels and vacuum furnaces. It is used in tantalum capacitors for electronic equipment such as computers. It is being investigated for use as a material for high-quality superconducting resonators in quantum processors. Tantalum is considered a technology-critical element by the European Commission.