Niobium – Rare heavy metal has a gray color and is very easy to forge. This metal can be extracted from the minerals columbite, coltan and loparite.
The metal industry use this to manufacture special steels and improve weldability. Depending on it’s mineral content (tantalum), the minerals are niobite or tantalite. Because it has similar properties to tantalum, it was initially thought to be tantalum. Hence the name comes from Niobe – sister of Tantalus.
It is a shiny, white metal that typically forms a film on its surface when exposed to air, turning shades of blue, green, or yellow, according to Chemicool. It has a wide range of uses from use in hypoallergenic jewelry to jet engines to superconducting magnets.
Niobium is used as an alloy additive for stainless steels, special stainless steels and non-ferrous alloys, because niobium-composite materials are pervade by larger mechanical strength. It is also used in the nuclear industry and in jewelry production.
This is used for the production of high-temperature-resistant alloys and special stainless steels. Small amounts of niobium impart greater strenght to other metals, especially those that are exposed to low temperatures. Niobium carbide is used in cutting tools. It is used in stainless steel alloys for nuclear reactors, jets, missiles, cutting tools, pipelines, super magnets and welding rods.
Niobium-tin and niobium-titanium alloys are used as wires for superconducting magnets capable of producing exceedingly strong magnetic fields. It’s also used its pure form to make superconducting accelerating structures for particle accelerators. Niobium alloys are used in surgical implants because they do not react with human tissue.