Nb – Niobium

Niobium, is a chemical element with the symbol Nb and atomic number 41. It is a soft, grey, ductile transition metal, which is often found in the pyrochlore mineral, the main commercial source for niobium, and columbite. The name comes from Greek mythology: Niobe, daughter of Tantalus. Niobium has physical and chemical properties similar to those of the element tantalum, and the two are therefore difficult to distinguish. The English chemist Charles Hatchett reported a new element similar to tantalum in 1801 and named it columbium. In 1809, the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston wrongly concluded that Tantalum and Columbium were identical. The German chemist Heinrich Rose determined in 1846 that tantalum ores contain a second element, which he named niobium. In 1864 and 1865, a series of scientific findings clarified that niobium and columbium were the same element (as distinguished from tantalum), and for a century both names were used interchangeably. The name of the element was officially adopted as niobium in 1949. Physical Niobium is a lustrous, grey, ductile, paramagnetic metal although it has an atypical configuration in its outermost electron shells compared to the rest of the members. Niobium becomes a superconductor at cryogenic temperatures. At atmospheric pressure, it has the highest critical temperature of the elemental superconductors, Niobium has the largest magnetic penetration depth of any element. In addition, it is one of the three elemental Type II superconductors, along with vanadium and technetium. The superconductive properties are strongly dependent on the purity of the niobium metal. When very pure, it is comparatively soft and ductile, but impurities make it harder.[24] The metal has a low capture cross-section for thermal neutrons; thus it is used in the nuclear industries Applications in Electronics Lithium niobate, which is a ferroelectric, is used extensively in mobile telephones and optical modulators, and for the manufacture of surface acoustic wave devices. It belongs to the ABO3 structure ferroelectrics like lithium tantalate and barium titanate. Niobium was evaluated as a cheaper alternative to tantalum in capacitors,[63] but tantalum capacitors are still predominant. Niobium is added to glass in order to attain a higher refractive index, a property of use to the optical industry in making thinner corrective glasses.

Ta - Tantalum

Tantalum is a rare, hard, blue-gray, lustrous transition metal that is highly corrosion resistant. Learn More »

Nb - Niobium

Niobium has physical and chemical properties similar to those of the element tantalum. Learn More »