Fabrisonic, a manufacturing technology company, based in the US, uses tantalum, a rare earth metal, in radiation shielding of aluminum aerospace structures by employing an ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) process. Tantalum is highly resistant to corrosion, and hence can be effectively applied to coat components that needs to be operated in a corrosive environment. The shielding called Graded Z shielding is increasingly being used in making aluminum aerospace structures, such as satellites for many years now. Graded Z shielding, by varying Z number, creates a resistant filter across a wide range of radiation to protect electronic components form radiation as well as reduces unnecessary background sound for clear signal analysis.
The UAM process used by the company is used to weld dissimilar metals. Employing this technology it can 3D print structures with many different Z number materials into a monolithic structure resulting in low part count. Tantalum apart from being used in graded Z application is an excellent absorber of neutrons which makes it being used for varied industrial applications such as many terrestrial applications in neutron shielding. The company is working on it by putting tantalum in neutron shielding applications for making nuclear medicine. Tantalum can be integrated into 3D printed aluminum structures so the market is being driven by metal 3D printing technology.
The market for tantalum is witnessing huge growth prospects driven by large-scale application in making satellites structures and aerospace segment. Recently, Big Market Research has added report titled “Global Tantalum Market 2015-2019” which offers in-depth insight into market dynamics and competitive landscape scenario along with detailed segmentation and forecast. As per the report global tantalum market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 2.89% during 2014-2019.