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Tantalum is an extremely hard, ductile metal that can withstand corrosion well. The chemical and nuclear industries exploit tantalum as the primary material for the production of industrial equipment. High temperature ovens, filaments for light bulbs, and certain sharp instruments all make use of tantalum's low reactivity.
Tantalum's relatively inert nature also gives the human body high tolerance to the element. In fact, tantalum is employed in sutures and in cranial repair plates. The oxide has applications in the manufacture of glass with a high index of refraction.