Chemical heat exchangers, dealing with volatile chemicals at high temperatures, are prone to corrosion. Fortunately, tantalum is one of the most corrosion resistant metals on earth. AT&F Advanced Metals has experience with many specialty metals, including tantalum, and have manufactured many tantalum heat exchangers, lined pressure vessels, and other specialty application components that make use of the metal’s properties.
The metal has carved out a niche in the corrosion-resistant market due to its ability to withstand corroding against the strongest of acids. A heat exchanger made from tantalum can last longer and accommodate harsher chemicals than a comparable unit made from carbon steel. Another application in which tantalum excels is in pressure vessels. Although full construction of pressure vessels from tantalum is uncommon due to price, fabricators will line the inside of the vessel with Tantalum to prevent corrosion and failure.
Working with tantalum requires expertise due to the unique properties that the metal possesses. It has a high melting point and creates oxides easily when in contact with air, so preparing and positioning the material for welding is an absolute must. Stainless and carbon steel melt at lower temperatures than tantalum, so the workpieces cannot be in contact with either while welding to prevent contaminating the weld pool. Furthermore, the weld area must be completely covered with inert gas or else the weld will be contaminated by the oxygen in the air. “We approach this issue with a custom chamber that can be flooded with argon gas to completely avoid contamination.” John Deily is the General Manager of AT&F Advanced Metals in Orrville, OH. “Also, the positioning of the weld joint is critical as welding tantalum in certain joint types can increase the likelihood of contamination.”
AT&F has extensive experience working with tantalum and other specialty metals. With expert metallurgists and industry-leading welding capabilities, you can be sure your next project is in the hands of highly skilled teams. Be sure to contact AT&F with details on your next project.