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Applications for niobium

Niobium consumption is dominated by its use as additive to high strength low alloy steel and stainless steel for oil and gas pipelines, car and truck bodies, architectural requirements, tool steels, ships hulls, railroad tracks. However, there are a number of other applications for niobium metal and its compounds.

Although niobium has many applications the majority is used in the production of high-grade structural steel. The second largest application for niobium is in nickel-based superalloys.

Niobium Product Application Technical Attributes/Benefits
HSLA Ferroniobium (~65%Nb) Niobium additive to high strength low alloy steel and stainless steel for oil and gas pipelines, car and truck bodies, architectural requirements, tool steels, ships hulls, railroad tracks Imparts a doubling of strength and toughness due to grain refining. Weight reduction.
Niobium oxide - Manufacture lithium niobate for surface acoustic wave filters
- Camera lenses
- Coating on glass for computer screens
- Ceramic capacitors
- High index of refraction
- High dielectric constant
- Increase light transmittance
Niobium carbide Cutting tool compositions High temperature deformation, controls grain growth
Niobium powder Niobium capacitors for electronic circuits High dielectric constant, stability of oxide dielectric
Niobium metal plates, sheets, wire, rod, tubing - Sputtering targets
- Cathode protection systems for large steel structures
- Chemical processing equipment
Corrosion resistance, formation of oxide and nitride films. Increase in high temperature resistance and corrosion resistance, oxidation resistance, improved creep resistance, reduced erosion at high temperatures.
Niobium-titanium alloy Niobium-tin alloy Superconducting magnetic coils in magnetic resonance imagery (MRI), magnetoencephalography, magnetic levitation transport systems, particle physics experiments. Electrical resistance of alloy wire drops to virtually zero at or below temperature of liquid helium (-268.8°C).
Niobium-1% zirconium alloy - Sodium vapor lamps
- Chemical processing equipment
Corrosion resistance, fixation of oxygen, resistance to embrittlement.
Vacuum-grade ferro-niobium and nickel-niobium Superalloy additions for turbine blade applications in jet engines and land-based turbines. Inconel family of alloys, superalloys. Increase in high temperature resistance and corrosion resistance, oxidation resistance, improved creep resistance, reduced erosion at high temperatures.

AVX, Niobium oxide capacitors (Bill Millman)

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