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Niobium (Nb) 

INTRODUCTION
Niobium (formerly called columbium, Cb) is a soft and ductile metal, shiny and white in colour. However when exposed to air at room temperature takes on a bluish tint. Niobium is one of refractory metal, like tantalum, can be welded to itself and to certain other metals by resistance welding, Tungsten Inert-Gas(TIG) welding, and to itself by inert-gas arc welding. Electron-beam welding can also be used, particularly for joining to other metals. However, surfaces that are heated above 315°C during welding must be protected with an inert gas to prevent embrittlement. It has a high melting point and consequently is used in high temperature engineering systems such as those used in the Gemini space program. Niobium is used in the nuclear industry since it has a low capture cross section for thermal neutrons. When combined with zirconium it has superconductive properties and hence some superconductive magnets contain Nb-Zr alloy wire. It has also been used for body jewellery due to its attractive shiny blue tint.

Niobium is extremely corrosion resistant in demanding applications. One of the common uses for niobium is overhead condensers and related heat/recovery sections of nitric acid facilities. Its advantages include exceptional durability, excellent heat transfer properties, years of performance without lost production and eliminating the added expense of back-up equipment.

- the available fabrication of  NIOBIUM (Nb) material :
- Niobium rod(ASTM B392 -95)
  3mm up to 95mm Diameter x random length.
- Niobium wire (ASTM B 392 - 95)
  0.5mm up to 3.0mm Diameter x R/L in coil
- Niobium 1% Zirconium wire (Nb-1Zr, Niobium alloy wire)
  0.5mm up to 3.0mm Diameter x R/L in coil
- Niobium plate(ASTM B393 - 95 R04210)
  Thick 0.1 up to 20mm x Width x Length
- Niobium sheet or Niobium strip(ASTM B393 - 95 R04210)
  Thickness 0.076 up to 0.90mm x Width 5 up to 130mm x Length or continuous Length in coil
- Niobium foil(ASTM B393)
  Thick 0.05 up to 0.10mm x Width 5-13mm x Length 
 - Niobium sputtering target (purity 99.95%min, or 99.99%min).
  6mm up to 20mm thickness x 600mm max. width x 1200mm max. length
- Niobium tube(ASTM B394 - 99)
  Niobium seamless tube / Niobium pipe
  Out Diameter 6.0mm up to 76.20 mm x Wall Thickness 0.2mm up to 5 mm x Length 6 meters max.
  Niobium capillary tube/tubing (seamless)
  Outer Diameter 1.0mm up to 4.0 mm x Wall Thickness 0.2mm up to 0.35 mm x Length 1 meters max.

---PROPERTIES---
It is a shiny, white, soft, and ductile metal, and takes on a bluish cast when exposed to air at room temperatures for a long time. The metal starts to oxidize in air at 200C, and when processed at even moderate temperatures must be placed in a protective atmosphere. 

The history of niobium (often also called columbium in American English) is tightly connected with that of tantalum. Both metals share very similar chemical 
characteristics and are always found together in nature. In the year 1801 niobium was discovered by the English chemist Hatchett. The now common name niobium for this metal was coined by its second discoverer, H. Rose. Semifinished products made of niobium and niobium alloys (e.g. Nb1Zr) are manufactured by means of sintering as well as melting.

Niobium is produced as an unalloyed metal with a guaranteed purity of min. 99.8 %. Pure Niobium has a melting point of 2470 °C and is a ductile metal despite of its body- centered cubic lattice. Niobium shows elongations > 20 % at room temperatures at tensile strength of > 200 N/mm2 in recrystallized condition.

---USES---
Niobium is widely used in superconducting materials, thin-film substrates, electrical contacts, heat sinks, and as an alloying addition in steels and superalloys.
It is used in arc-welding rods for stabilized grades of stainless steel. Thousands of pounds of niobium have been used in advanced air frame systems such as were used in the Gemini space program. The element has superconductive properties; superconductive magnets have been made with Nb-Zr wire, which retains its superconductivity in strong magnetic fields. This type of application offers hope of direct large-scale generation of electric power.

---ADVANTAGES OF NIOBIUM---
Good corrosion resistance
  Pure niobium can resit Hydrochloric Acid ; 
  Niobium  can resit Hydrochloric Acid, Hypochlorites, Mixed Acids, Nitric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide;
  Niobium alloys can resit Nitric Acid ;
  Niobium carbide can resit Nitric Acid;
Excellent biocompatibility, etc., with the following detailed applications :

Niobium Product Application Technical Attributes/Benefits
HSLA Ferro-niobium (~60%Nb) or FeNb Niobium additive to ‘high strength low alloy’ steel and stainless steel for oil and gas pipelines, car and truck bodies, architectural requirements, tool steels, ships’ hulls, railroad tracks. Imparts a doubling of strength and toughness due to grain refining. Weight reduction.
Niobium oxide (Niobium Pentoxide) - Manufacture lithium niobate for surface acoustic wave filters.
- Camera lenses.
- Coating on glass for computer screens.
- Ceramic capacitors.
- High index of refraction.
- High dielectric constant.
- Increase light transmittance.
Niobium carbide Cemented Carbide Cutting tool compositions. High temperature deformation, controls grain growth.
Niobium powder Niobium capacitors for electronic circuits. High dielectric constant, stability of oxide dielectric.
Niobium metal plates, sheets, wire, rod, tubing - Niobium Sputtering targets.
- Cathode protection systems for large steel structures.
- Chemical processing equipment.
Corrosion resistance, formation of oxide and nitride films. Increase in high temperature resistance and corrosion resistance, oxidation resistance, improved creep resistance, reduced erosion at high temperatures.

Niobium-titanium alloy (NiTi)
Niobium-tin alloy

(NbSn)

Superconducting magnetic coils in magnetic resonance imagery (MRI), magnetoencephalography, magnetic levitation transport systems, particle physics experiments. Electrical resistance of alloy wire drops to virtually zero at or below temperature of liquid helium (-268.8°C).

Niobium-1%zirconium alloy

(Nb1Zr, NbZr, Nb-1%Zr)

- Sodium vapor lamps
- Chemical processing equipment
Corrosion resistance, fixation of oxygen, resistance to embrittlement.
Vacuum-grade ferro-niobium and nickel-niobium Superalloy additions for turbine blade applications in jet engines and land-based turbines. Inconel family of alloys, superalloys. Increase in high temperature resistance and corrosion resistance, oxidation resistance, improved creep resistance, reduced erosion at high temperatures.


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