For one thing, it was the 1700s!
And this metal, it turns out, does not react with bodily fluids. So it is now used to make surgical equipment, implants, artificial joints, cranial plates, and many other medical items.
Thanks to Ekeberg's tantalum, we now have tons of people running around who are part human and part machine.
Actually, it's not “eek” at all. Many people are alive today who would not be without their pacemakers or insulin pumps. Others live more comfortable and happy lives thanks to their hearing aids or tantalum knees. There are many, many other medical uses for tantalum. I will leave it to you to wonder how many people you know who are part human, part tantalum!
(By the way, tantalum is also used to make non-medical items such as parts for planes, missiles, nuclear power plants, and so forth.)
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