Niobium

Niobium is a grey, crystalline metallic element with high temperature resistance and other desirable properties for manufacturers. It is most commonly used in the creation of numerous metal alloys. Small amounts of niobium (as little as 0.1%) can significantly improve a metal’s performance characteristics. Admat Inc. offers pure, alloy, and oxide niobium products in a variety of forms, including sheets, plates, rods, wires, tubes, strips, foils, and oxides.

Benefits of Niobium

Niobium is renowned for its excellent resistance to corrosion and oxidation. When exposed to air and moisture, a tenacious niobium oxide layer forms. This layer acts as a protective barrier, blocking the intrusion of additional air and moisture and, as a result, preventing the occurrence of further corrosion.

Niobium is one of five refractory metals; this means it is highly resistant to extreme heat and wear.  Its 4491°F (2477°C) melting point makes this metal and its alloys ideal for high pressure and high-temperature applications. Despite niobium’s relatively high melting point, its density is the lowest of all refractory metals, which can make it appealing to the aircraft and jet engine industries.

Niobium is also frequently used to make jewelry due to its malleability, hardness, corrosion resistance, and hypoallergenic properties. It can also be easily anodized to create a variety of attractive iridescent colors.

Other useful characteristics of niobium include its potent alloying and superconducting properties, which are essential in several applications.

Applications of Niobium

Some of the most common uses of this element include:

  • Steel Production – Niobium is commonly used in the microalloying of HSLA steels for the automotive and petrochemical industries. As little as 0.1% of this metal can considerably enhance the strength and stability of structural steel. Niobium-steel alloys are frequently used in automotive sheet steel and oil and gas pipelines.
  • Superalloys – Superalloys are high-performance alloys that exhibit exceptional mechanical strength, thermal creep resistance, surface stability, and corrosion resistance. As much as 6.5% of niobium may be used in nickel, cobalt, and iron-based superalloys. These alloys are especially useful in the aerospace industry for the production of jet engine components, which can experience temperatures exceeding 1832°F (1000°C).
  • Superconducting Magnets – When cooled to below niobium’s transition temperature, its resistance becomes negligible. Specific niobium alloys are used as type II superconductor wires for superconducting magnets. These magnets are critical components of magnetic resonance imaging equipment that is used in the medical industry.

Niobium Properties

Here are some of niobium’s essential properties:

  • Symbol – Nb
  • Number – 41
  • Density – 8.57 g/cm3
  • Atomic Weight – 92.906 g/mol
  • Crystal Structure – Body Centered Cubic
  • Melting Point – 2750 K, 2477°C, 4491°F
  • Boiling Point – 5017 K, 4744°C, 8571°F
  • Electrical Resistivity – (0 °C) 152 nΩ·m
  • Thermal Conductivity – (300 K) 53.7 W·m−1K−1
  • Thermal Expansion – 7.3 µm/(m·K)

Niobium Products for Your Project

If you are interested in learning more about Admat’s niobium products and how they can be used in your application, contact our technical team directly or request a quote today.

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES

PHASE — Solid
STD ATOMIC WEIGHT — Solid
STD ATOMIC WEIGHT — 92.90638(2) g-mol-1
MELTING TEMPERATURE — 2750 K, 2477° C, 4491° F
BOILING POINT — 5017 K, 4744° C, 8571° F
CRYSTAL STRUCTURE — Body Centered Cubic
ELECTRICAL RESISTIVITY — (0 °C) 152 nΩ·m
THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY — (300 K) 53.7 W·m−1·K−1
THERMAL EXPANSION — 7.3 µm/(m·K)

GENERAL PROPERTIES

SYMBOL — Nb
NUMBER — 41
ELEMENT CATEGORY: — Transition Metals

KEY FACTS

  • Discovered in 1801 by Charles Hatchett, an English chemist
  • Closely related to tantalum
  • Lowest melting point, density, and strength of the refractory metals
  • Excellent cold working properties
  • Limited corrosion resistance when compared to tantalum

MAJOR APPLICATIONS

  • Superconductor wires for MRI applications
  • Alloying agents in certain steels
  • Chemical process equipment such as heat exchangers
  • Fabrication of artificial diamonds

COMMON ALLOYS

  • Niobium
  • Niobium 1% Zirconium
  • Niobium 7.5% Tantalum
  • Niobium 47% Titanium
  • Niobium 50% Titanium
  • Niobium 55% Titanium