What is niobium?


The niobium is a member chemical number 41 belonging to the metals refractories Group 5 of the periodic table. Niobium is a strange, soft, malleable, ductile, gray-white metal. It is widely used in superconducting alloys , tools , dies, and magnets . Niobium is closely associated with tantalum in minerals and in their properties. Its structure is crystalline and its physical and chemical properties resemble tantalum. It should be placed in a protective atmosphere when processed even at moderate temperatures because it tends to reactto oxygen, carbon, halogens, nitrogen and sulfur. The metal is inert to acids , even to water at room temperature, but it is attacked by hot and concentrated acids , and especially by alkalis and by oxidizing agents .


  • Symbol : Nb
  • Atomic number : 41
  • Group: 5

What is niobium?

The niobium is a chemical element of the periodic table. It is located in group 5 that belongs to the alkaloid metals . It is a metal that reacts to oxygen , carbon and nitrogen and is inert to acids.

  • Characteristics of niobium
  • History
  • Who discovered niobium
  • Properties
  • What is niobium for?
  •  Where is it located

Characteristics of niobium

  • It is also known by the name of columbio .
  • It is element number 41 on the periodic table of elements.
  • Its name, symbol and atomic number are the following: Niobium , Nb , 41 respectively.
  • Its atomic mass is 92.90638 u.
  • The electron configuration of niobium is: [Kr] 4d4 5s1.
  • Its ordinary state is the solid state and its density is 8570 kg / m3.
  • Its melting point is 2750 K (2477 ° C) and its boiling point is 5017 K (4744 ° C).
  • It is a transition metal and is in group 5 of the elements of the periodic table.
  • If the metal can be inhaled , it is retained within the lungs and can pass into the bones, interfering with the role of calcium in activating the enzyme system.


The origin of niobium comes from Greek mythology . According to the myth, Níobe , daughter of Tantalus , was petrified with her own crying after her children died and for this reason she was baptized niobium. In the year 1734, John Winthrop discovered a mineral in Massachusetts, United States and decided to send it to England where it was exhibited in the British museum until it was analyzed and studied by the English chemist Charles Hatchett . After several analyzes, Hatchett called the new element columbium in honor of Columbia. In 1809, the English physicist William Hyde Wollastonmade a comparison of the element with others coming to the conclusion that it was different and called it tantalum . In 1844, Heinrich Rose , a chemist of German origin, worked with samples of tantalite and columbite and separated them into acidic forms, which he called niobic acid and it was years later that the chemist Jean Charles de Marignac isolated metallic niobium by heating chloride in an atmosphere of hydrogen.

Who discovered niobium

It was found in Massachusetts by John Winthrop , and listed as a foreign material, so it was sent to England. In 1801 the English chemist Charles Hatchet analyzed it and named it Columbius . However, after a few years another scholar, the English physicochemist William Hyde compared it with other elements and determined that it was Tantalum . Some time later, the German chemist and minerologist Heinrich Rose changed his name to Niobium and finally in 1949 the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry ( IUPAC ) officially named it: Niobium.


It is in the form of metal and can become a superconductor at cryogenic temperatures . These conduction properties also depend on the purity of the metal, because if it is very pure, it will be softer and more ductile . When exposed to air at room temperature it takes on a bluish hue . It is resistant to corrosion , has superconducting characteristics and can form layers of dielectic oxide. It is a very common element that is found on the surface of the earth and is found freely within nature.

What is niobium for?

Niobium is a metal that can be used as an alloying element in some types of stainless steels and in other non-ferrous alloys. These alloys are quite strong and resistant and are often used in pipe construction . They can also be used in the following fields:

  • It can be used in welding some stainless steels.
  • It is used in piercings , generally alloyed, due to its bluish color.
  • Abundant amounts of niobium are used in nickel, cobalt, and iron- based superlations to create the various components of aircraft engines , rockets, and refractory equipment .
  • Some alloys made with this metal are used in the winding of superconducting magnets capable of producing extremely strong magnetic fields .

 Where is it located

Niobium can be found in nature , for example, in columbite minerals, and it is found mainly in regions of countries such as Brazil , Canada , Nigeria and Russia .

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