chemical element with the atomic number of 41

Niobium is a chemical element. It is sometimes named columbium. It has the chemical symbol Nb. It has the atomic number 41. It is a rare metal. Niobium is soft and grey. It is ductile. In chemistry it is placed in a group of metal elements named the transition metals. Niobium was discovered in a variety of a mineral called columbite (now called niobite). Niobite is an ore of niobium.[1]

A sheet of niobium

Niobium is considered a technology-critical element. It is used in alloys, such as to make special steels and strong welded joints. Less than 0.1% of Niobium significantly improves the strength of steel.[2] It is in the superconducting alloys used in MRI scanners, which are one of the most important medical inventions of the modern age.


  1. G.V. Samsonov {ed) 1968. Mechanical properties of the elements. In Handbook of the physicochemical properties of the elements. New York, USA: IFI-Plenum. ISBN 978-1-4684-6066-7
  2. Patel, Zh. & Khul'ka K. 2001. Niobium for steelmaking. Metallurgist. 45 (11–12): 477–480.