Niobium was discovered by British chemist Charles Hatchett in1801. It was first isolated by Swedish chemist Christian Wilhelm Blomstrand in1864.
Where is Niobium found?
Niobium is considered to be the 34th most abundant element in the Earth's crust with an average concentration of 20 ppm. It is obtained from ores like coltan, pyrochlore and columbite. The major producers of niobium are Brazil and Canada.
What is Niobium used for?
The following are some of the uses of Niobium.
Niobium is used in different alloys. One such alloy of Niobium is C-103 alloy which is used in liquid rocket thruster nozzles.
Lithium niobate is used in optical modulators and surface acoustic wave devices.
Niobium is added to glass, making a higher refractive index and thinner and lighter glasses.
Niobium alloys such as niobium-titanium, Niobium-germanium and niobium-tin are used in type II superconductor wire. These wires are used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and instruments like particle accelerators.
Niobium is used in superalloys like Inconel 718, which are used in advanced airframe systems and space equipment and rocket engines.