Atomic number: 41

Symbol: Nb

Category: transition metal

Density at 25°C: solid:  8.57 g·cm−3

Niobium is widely used in various alloys and as part of compounds for the production of superconducting magnets. Also it is used for heat resistance in aerospace industry especially in systems like superchargers and nozzles for rocket engines.

Niobium was discovered by the English chemist Charles Hatchett in 1801. He found a new element in a mineral sample that had been sent to England from Massachusetts, United States in 1734 by John Winthrop F.R.S. (grandson of John Winthrop the Younger) and named the mineral columbite and the new element columbium after Columbia it was later renamed to Niobium after considerable analysis by many others. 

Niobium crystals. image: adapted from wikipedia

Use, natural applications or common combinations: 

  • aerospace applications for high temperatures
  • super conducting magnets MRI scanners
  • Used in mobile phones as lithium niobate

Basic characteristics:

  • Standard atomic weight: 92.906 38(2)
  • Melting point: 2477 °C
  • Boiling point: 4744 °C
  • Radioactivity: all naturally stable