Definition of niobium in US English:



  • The chemical element of atomic number 41, a silver-gray metal of the transition series, used in superconducting alloys.

    • ‘To alleviate this problem, small quantities of elements which are stronger carbide formers than chromium, such as titanium or niobium are commonly added.’
    • ‘Steels microalloyed with both niobium and vanadium provide higher yield strength in the conventionally hot-rolled condition than that achievable with either element alone.’
    • ‘Sodium is also used as a chemical reducing agent in producing titanium, zirconium, niobium, and tantalum from their fused salts.’
    • ‘Previous attempts to lower the switching temperature have incorporated low levels of elements such as tungsten, molybdenum, niobium and fluorine.’
    • ‘Likewise, we could explain the known properties of Earth's core by an alloy of niobium but choose not to do so because a much more abundant element - iron - can do the job.’
    • ‘The materials all include oxygen, and one, for example, also contains niobium, tantalum, and zirconium.’
    • ‘This resource is potentially globally significant as a source of niobium and tantalum.’
    • ‘However, titanium, niobium, and tantalum can influence mechanical properties still further by encouraging the formation of other similar types of precipitates.’
    • ‘Certain strong carbide formers, notably niobium, titanium and vanadium, have effects on tempering out of proportion to their concentration.’
    • ‘The gyroscope rotors are covered with a layer of niobium, a metal that will superconduct when it is cooled by liquid helium.’
    • ‘Depending on specific requirements related to their use, hard metals might additionally contain small quantities of chromium, niobium, molybdenum, titanium, tantalum or vanadium carbides.’
    • ‘Magnesium, titanium, zirconium, niobium, tantalum, molybdenum and tungsten may be soldered if they are plated with a solderable metal coating such as silver.’
    • ‘Welding causes problems due to excessive grain growth in the heat affected zone but, recently, new low-interstitial alloys containing titanium or niobium have been shown to be readily weldable.’
    • ‘The refractory metals include niobium (also known as columbium), tantalum, molybdenum, tungsten, and rhenium.’
    • ‘The element always occurs with another chemical element, niobium.’
    • ‘The proposed mine, which would dig for niobium, a rare metal, would be carved out of land near the Kahnesatake Mohawk reserve and the village of Oka.’
    • ‘A previous study of the columbite-tantalite series minerals indicated a similar change for tin, tantalum, niobium, and manganese.’
    • ‘Other elements added to improve characteristics include nickel, molybdenum, copper, titanium, aluminum, silicon, niobium, nitrogen, sulfur, and selenium.’
    • ‘The mine in question will be digging for niobium, a rare metal used as a steel alloy to save on weight and thickness, which is more resistant to corrosion and is easier to weld.’
    • ‘Enter the spherical coating of niobium: when niobium becomes superconducting, and the spherical superconductor spins, it does something very handy.’


Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Niobe, by association with her father Tantalus (so named because the element was first found in tantalite).