Advantages Of Coltan Capacitors Make Current Tantalum Price Worth The Investment
With the tantalum price fluctuating wildly in the past several years because of the global economic crisis, continuing problems with coltan mined in conflict regions, and various other problems, some industries have begun to consider the potential for using other materials such as ceramics for capacitors and other applications. While there are some instances in which other materials may fill the need, there are also situations in which the unique qualities of columbite-tantalite make it the only real choice.
What Are The Advantages?
There are several unique characteristics that make tantalum, sometimes called coltan or columbite-tantalite, a superior material for use in a variety of electronics:
- Extreme reliability. There are no other capacitor materials that are more reliable than columbite-tantalite. Their durability means they have a virtually unlimited life, so their use isn't limited by the passage of time. Other materials tend to wear out over time, limiting their use for a variety of applications.
- Efficiency. Tantalum capacitors have an extremely high level of volumetric efficiency that far surpasses even their closest competitor, electrolytics. Moderate fluctuations in the price have little impact on the fact that components made from this metal are more desirable because they can be used in significantly smaller circuit boards and other products that appeal to consumers.
- Better frequency characteristics. Their frequency response is also more impressive than that of electrolytics, making them particularly well suited for use in various applications where reliable frequency response is critical.
- High and low heat tolerances. The range of temperatures at which coltan capacitors can operate is unusually wide for a metal ore. They are able to continue functioning reliably at temperatures as low as -50° Celsius and as high as 125° Celsius. Any applications that require dependability in particularly harsh environmental situations.
- Suitability for manufacturing applications. Today's manufacturing techniques expose capacitors to extremely high temperatures through soldering that heats the component being manufactured with infrared heat. In earlier applications, leaded soldering didn't create such high temperatures and didn't require metals with such high heat tolerances.
Tantalum Price Solutions
It's obvious there are plenty of advantages to using coltan for capacitors and other electrical components, particularly where high heat tolerance and reliability in small scale is crucial, such as cell phones, circuit boards and automotive electronics. In response to this continuing need for coltan, there are several countries that are now opening new mines or reopening formerly closed mines to meet the current demand without having to rely on columbite-tantalite from conflict areas such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the meantime, the current tantalum price continues to be well worth the cost.