What is Niobium?

Niobium (Nb) is a ductile refractory metal that is highly resistant to heat and wear. Like tantalum, it is resistant to corrosion owing to the formation of a surface oxide layer.

Benefits of Niobium

Approximately 90% of niobium use is attributed to the steel industry, predominantly as a micro alloy with iron. The addition of small, relatively cheap, amounts of niobium (much less than 1%) significantly increases the strength and decreases the weight of steel products. This results in more economic, beneficial products for use in the construction industry (e.g., beams in buildings, bridges, oil rigs, railway tracks), in gas and oil pipelines, and in the automotive industry where weight savings result in increased performance and fuel reduction.

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Technical information

Uses for such superalloys include turbine blades in jet engines within the aeronautic industry, and gas turbines in the energy industry.

Niobium, along with other refractory elements such as tantalum, is also used in nickel and nickel-iron superalloys, particularly for applications requiring strength and heat resistance.

Other uses for niobium include: in glass for applications such as corrective spectacles and camera lenses; within jewellery; in prosthetics and medical implants; in niobium capacitors in electronic circuits; in sodium vapour lamps; and in cutting tools.

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