Niobium was discovered in 1801 by the work of Charles Hatchett. Working on an ore from America called columbite due to its origin in Conneticut, he named the element Columbium. But it was not until 1846 that the German chemist Henrich Rose isolated Niobium. The name niobum comes from Greek mythology meaning the daughter of Tantalus ‘Niobe.’ Niobium itself is used with Iron in the production of stainless steel and also the production of other alloys with metals such as Zirconium. it is used to make heat resistant alloys, especially in the production of jet engines. Niobium is not found free in the earth’s crust but instead bonded to other elements in ores such as columbite and tantalite. It is located in Group 5 as a Transition metal. It has a melting point of 2477°c and a boiling point of 4744°c.
Used as an alloy with iron and nickel. It can be used in nuclear reactors and is known to be superconductive when alloyed with tin, aluminum or zirconium.
Occurs in a mineral columbite. Formerly known as colombium (Cb). It is used in stainless steel alloys for nuclear reactors, jets and missiles.