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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Niobium, or columbium is a chemical element that has the symbol Nb.
  • Niobium is a metal that is gray in appearance and ideal for use with steel to create an alloy that can be used in a number of products.
  • Niobium is a shiny grey, ductile metal that takes on a bluish tinge when exposed to air at room temperature for extended periods.
  • Columbium (symbol Cb) was the name originally given to this element, but the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) officially adopted "niobium" as the name for element.

Process

  • The first step in preparing niobium metal is to separate its compounds from tantalum in an ore.
  • Niobium becomes a superconductor when lowered to cryogenic temperatures.
  • Electropolishing (EP) has been proven a necessary surface processing method for high-gradient superconducting niobium cavities.
  • A techniques has been developed for processing niobium via powder metallurgy and some have applied powder injection molding to niobium-based alloys and superalloys.

Application

  • Niobium has begun to attract attention as a metal that can be used in the creation of jewelry.
  • Niobium is used in many alloys. An alloy is made by melting and mixing two or more metals.
  • Niobium is used in special steel alloys as well as in welding, nuclear industries, electronics and optics.
  • Niobium is occasionally used as a precious metal in commemorative coins, often together with silver or gold.
  • Niobium Oxide capacitors are gaining a presence in the electronics marketplace as a non-burning solution, practical for many applications.

Technology

  • Ultra High Vacuum conditions (UHVCA) technique has been used to produce ultra-pure niobium films with excellent structural and electrical properties at a deposition temperature lower than 100oC.
  • Microwavehiydrothermal technique has been used for the synthesis of Nb- and Ta- based electroceramics, such as Ba(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3 and Bi2SrTa2O9.
  • Optimization technique is used to to assess and optimize the quality of chemical etching techniques of niobium cavities when baffle is used to direct the etching fluid along the surfaces of the cavity.

Market

  • Columbium, in the form of ferrocolumbium, is used worldwide mostly as an alloying element in steels and in superalloys.
  • The columbium price is driven by the availability of columbium mineral feed materials, recycling being an insignificant source of supply.
  • Brazil and Canada are the major producers of columbium mineral concentrates and converters of the material to ferrocolumbium.
  • Brazilís production of columbium concentrates, mostly pyrochlore, accounts for more than 85% of total world production of columbium.
  • CBMM accounted for 87.66% of the total of foreign exchange in dollars-FOB generated by exports of products made from niobium (Nb2O5) in the country.
  • Niobium demand has increased due to a general increase in the use of niobium, high demand in China and the additional use of niobium as a substitute for other, higher-priced specialty alloys.

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