Most tantalum wire is made to order by the mill. Tantalum wire fabrication starts with tantalum ingot, that is produced from tantalum scrap or mined tantalum minerals. The ingot size is reduced in a number of steps ending up tantalum wire by wire drawing. The major part of produced tantalum wire is used in tantalum capacitor production.
The base product for tantalum wire is Electron beam melted tantalum Ingot - Grade R05200 or sintered tantalum Ingot - Grade R05400. Material specification typically follows ASTM B365 specification for technical grade tantalum wire or ASTM F560 specification for surgical grade tantalum wire. The tantalum wire compostion is normaly determined from ingot analysis, but the content of elements like oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen may be required tested in the final tantalum wire product. In a number of steps the ingot is machined into tantalum rods and subsequently in to tantalum wire products.
Tantalum maching by endusers may be a challange. Unannealed tantalum wire material is in general more suitable for machining than annealed. As surgical grade tantalum is unalloyed and has a tendency to harden during processing and can be difficult to machine. Proper lubrication is required when machining tantalum and the work must be well flooded at all times. Conventional coolant typically does not work. Perchloroethylene, trichloroethane or Moly-Dee have been reported as suitable as a cutting medium for tantalum.
Medical tantalum component aqre typically cleaned/passivated according to ASTM F86 to remove foreign metal particles, grease and other possible contaminants arising during manufacturing and processing.