Niobium was first discovered hundreds of years ago in Connecticut, USA and identified as a new element in England by the chemist Charles Hatchett. Originally named columbium after the poetic name for the USA, its status as an element was disputed as there was considerable confusion with the closely-related tantalum, from which niobium eventually drew its name.
Named for Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus in Greek Mythology, niobium is a shiny silver metal which is reasonably soft at room temperature, which exhibits a number of very powerful superconductive properties. When added to steel, niobium greatly enhances the useful properties of the steel, increasing strength, toughness, heat resistance, shock resistance, ductility, formability and weldability, while slowing down crystal formation and resulting in a stronger, better steel.
This makes niobium rods a crucial part of the production process for the steels used in intercontinental pipelines and other high-pressure applications, as well as the superalloys used in rocket nozzles, spacecraft and jet engines. When alloyed with tin or other metals, niobium rods can be used to make superconductors like the ones found in the superconducting magnets of MRI machines and other high-tech medical scanning equipment. Niobium superconductors are also famously used in the Large Hadron Collider!
In industry and engineering, niobium rods are usually used as blanks for the production of more complex components, or used as alloying stock to add to steel or other metals to form high-performance alloys. Niobium rods can also be drawn into wire or rolled into plates or sheets, making them a versatile component in any industrial setting. For more information or to request a quote, call 01268 820409 today or fill in and submit the contact form on this page!