Author Topic: Tantalum still a conflict material?  (Read 1674 times)

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Offline Pack34

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Tantalum still a conflict material?
« on: May 21, 2018, 02:49:01 pm »
I tend to avoid using tantalums whenever possible and opting for ceramics. With a ceramic, there's less chance of assembly issues and tantalum was a conflict material.

Is it still considered to be a conflict material? Or has the issues in Africa fizzled over the last decade or two?
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2018, 03:03:57 pm »
Sadly, yes. Just a couple of weeks ago there was a harrowing news report (BBC, I think) about this.
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 

Offline Pack34

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2018, 03:29:14 pm »
Damn.

Have a link to it?
 

Offline Yansi

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2018, 04:30:52 pm »
Under the current MLCC supply shortages, you will be glad you can replace your high capacity ceramics with tantalums.  ;)
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2018, 05:29:58 pm »
Since tantalum like most or all conflict minerals is fungible, you may be making a distinction without a difference.

What about niobium oxide capacitors?

My choice to replace tantalum capacitors might be polymer aluminum in some cases.
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2018, 07:05:30 pm »
Since tantalum like most or all conflict minerals is fungible, you may be making a distinction without a difference.

What about niobium oxide capacitors?

My choice to replace tantalum capacitors might be polymer aluminum in some cases.
I won't use Tantalum because of the failure rate.  They have a problem if boards are burned in or used for a while, then put on the shelf for a year or two, and then fired up with a fairly high-current power supply, a few will short.  And, then, they tend to BURN!

I have used Niobium Oxide caps with great results, Never seen one fail unless installed backwards or over-volted.

I'm starting to use aluminum polymer caps, and they seem to do quite well.  They are definitely less expensive than the larger Niobium Oxide caps.

Jon
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2018, 08:10:44 pm »
I won't use Tantalum because of the failure rate.  They have a problem if boards are burned in or used for a while, then put on the shelf for a year or two, and then fired up with a fairly high-current power supply, a few will short.  And, then, they tend to BURN!

If you voltage derate them properly and stay within the limits of their surge current rating, then they are very reliable.

Polymer tantalum capacitors use a different self healing mechanism so do not suffer from the same failures and limitations.
 

Offline Cyberdragon

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2018, 01:27:02 am »
Since tantalum like most or all conflict minerals is fungible, you may be making a distinction without a difference.

What about niobium oxide capacitors?

My choice to replace tantalum capacitors might be polymer aluminum in some cases.
I won't use Tantalum because of the failure rate.  They have a problem if boards are burned in or used for a while, then put on the shelf for a year or two, and then fired up with a fairly high-current power supply, a few will short.  And, then, they tend to BURN!

But SMD ceramics can crack, short and go sizzle!
*BZZZZZZAAAAAP*
Voltamort strikes again!
Explodingus - someone who frequently causes accidental explosions
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2018, 02:46:00 am »
But SMD ceramics can crack, short and go sizzle!
Proper board design and maybe crack or short resistant ceramics should mitigate that.
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2018, 03:09:28 am »
Damn.

Have a link to it?

Sorry for the delay.

https://youtu.be/4wdWuEH18UQ

The report was on CNN and focused on cobalt but it shows the ongoing situation in Democratic Republic of Congo (the worst offender) and still applies to the 3TG minerals (tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold). The emphasis on cobalt is because there is a push to add the chain of custody requirements to cobalt that apply to the other conflict materials. If anything, the situation has gotten worse.

(edited for layout)
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 01:42:26 pm by JohnnyMalaria »
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 

Offline David Chamberlain

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2018, 09:22:57 am »
Thanks for bringing this issue up. I'll admit it is something i had never given much thought to but now will.
 

Offline apis

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2018, 06:25:45 pm »
Does boycotting the use of those elements make life for those children any better though? The problem is poverty and instability in these regions.
 
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Online blueskull

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2018, 06:49:47 pm »
If you buy from name brands, chances are, you won't get unethically sourced materials.
Considering only a few major players are in this market, I wouldn't worry about this.
 

Offline thm_w

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2018, 09:57:53 pm »
If you buy from name brands, chances are, you won't get unethically sourced materials.
Considering only a few major players are in this market, I wouldn't worry about this.

Would you say the same about coffee, or chocolate?
I can't see how the electronics industry is going to be any different than those, and its been shown many times that unethically sourced product makes its way into the supply chain. Even when they are certified as sustainable/fair trade/etc.

http://fortune.com/big-chocolate-child-labor/
http://www.newsweek.com/2015/02/13/where-apple-gets-tantalum-your-iphone-304351.html
https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/conflict-mineral-verisk-maplecroft-challenges-enforcement/439840/

If there are laws in place preventing important from certain countries, they can get around them by shipping to an "approved" country, which rebrands/reships the product. See olive oil, honey, and probably more examples of this (italy produces many times more olive oil than it is capable of).
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Tantalum still a conflict material?
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2018, 05:29:22 pm »
Another one is trade in exotic animals. There are countries that ship massive numbers of animals for the pet trade, yet the animals are not bred there, or even naturally present there.

Of course if you want ring-neck parakeets or Indian Mynahs you are very welcome to them here, where they are a massive problem, though the Mynah bird has solved one issue, it is about the only thing that likes a ground cricket appropriately named the Parktown prawn.
 


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