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NiobiumIn the former Soviet Union there were three main producers of Niobium Metal – Silmet in Estonia, Donetsk in Ukraine and Ulba in Kazakhstan.

Each factory to a greater or lesser extent has been affected by the passing of the command system under which they received regular supply of raw material.

Nowadays these factories have found difficulty finding their way as stand-alone organizations and the result has been the gradual decline of each into sporadic and reduced production. The quality of material, if still available, is suitable for the production of Nickel-Niobium master alloy and has to compete in price with CBMM of Brazil’s product. We can accept offers of:- – Square bars ( Nb 99.4% min) – Sheet / Plate ( Nb 99.4% min) – Round Ingots (Nb 99.8% min) – Ferro Niobium Lumps.

Niobium FACTS
In 1801 the chemist E. Hatchet examined a black mineral, which had been on display in the British


Museum for over 150 years, only to discover that this black mineral contained iron and an unidentified substance of an acidic oxide nature. He named the new element columbium after the continent on which it was found.

Niobium is strongly associated with tantalum as they were discovered in the same mineral. In 1844 Heinrich Rose separated the two and introduced the name niobium after Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus. In the 1950’s Niobium was accepted as the official designation of element 41.

Pyrochlore is the most important niobium mineral and is basically titano-nobate, NaCaNb2O6F.

It is a shiny, silvery metal which is soft when pure. It resists corrosion due to an oxide layer on the surface. Nb is attacked by hot concentrated acids, but resists attack by alkalis even when they are molten.

The metal is prepared from Nb2O5 by reduction with carbon. It has a bcc structure. Niobium’s main application is as an alloying agent in steel. It is used in special steels and in welded joints (to increase strength) forming High Strength low Alloy steels.

It is quite ductile, capable of being rolled to sheet and bar. It can be welded using the inert gas shielded technique with copious gas flow before and after the weld on both sides.

It resists attack from almost all chemicals, but is in no way superior to tantalum. The ability to withstand oxidation especially at elevated temperatures makes niobium potentially useful for super alloys in gas turbine applications.

Atomic no.
Relative atomic mass
Melting point
Boiling point
Electrical resistivity
Young’s modulus
Heat capacity
Thermal conductivity
2477 °C
150 nΩm
104.9 Gpa
24.6 J/K/mol
20 ppm
53.7 W /m/K