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Ilmenium was the proposed name for a new element found by the chemist R. Hermann in 1847.[1] During the analysis of the mineral samarskite, he concluded that it does contain an element similar to niobium and tantalum. The similar reactivity of niobium and tantalum complicated preparation of pure samples of the metals and therefore several new elements were proposed, which were later found to be mixtures of niobium and tantalum.

The differences between tantalum and niobium, and the fact that no other similar element was present, were unequivocally demonstrated in 1864 by Christian Wilhelm Blomstrand,[2] and Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville, as well as Louis J. Troost, who determined the formulas of some of the compounds in 1865[2][3] and finally by the Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac[4] Although it had been proven that ilmenium is only a mixture of niobium and tantalum, Hermann continued publishing articles on ilmenium for several years.[5]

The name "ilmenium" is a reference to the Ilmensky Mountains.[6]


  1. ^ Hermann, R. (1847). "Untersuchungen über das Ilmenium". Journal für Praktische Chemie. 40: 457–480. doi:10.1002/prac.184704001110.
  2. ^ a b Marignac, Blomstrand, H. Deville, L. Troost und R. Hermann (1866). "Tantalsäure, Niobsäure, (Ilmensäure) und Titansäure". Fresenius' Journal of Analytical Chemistry. 5 (1): 384–389. doi:10.1007/BF01302537.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Gupta, C. K.; Suri, A. K. (1994). Extractive Metallurgy of Niobium. CRC Press. pp. 1–16. ISBN 0-8493-6071-4.
  4. ^ Marignac, M. C. (1866). "Recherches sur les combinaisons du niobium". Annales de chimie et de physique (in French). 4 (8): 7–75.
  5. ^ Hermann, R. (1871). "Ueber ein einfaches Verfahren zur Trennung der Säuren des Niobiums von denen des Ilmeniums". Zeitschrift für Analytische Chemie. 10: 344–348. doi:10.1007/BF01354144.
  6. ^ The Chemical Gazette, Or, Journal of Practical Chemistry, in All Its Applications to Pharmacy, Arts and Manufactures, Volume 4, by William Francis; page 451; published 1846, by Richard and John E. Taylor; via Google Books