Niobium (Columbium) | Ed Fagan Inc.

Niobium and Its Commercial Applications

Niobium is a chemical element with the symbol Nb and atomic number 41. Niobium is a light grey, crystalline with a melting point of 2468°C which characterizes it as a refractory metal. With its myriad of properties, Niobium is an excellent contender for fabricated parts.

Due to its low capture cross section for thermal neutrons, Niobium has application in the nuclear industry. Niobium can be electrically heated and anodized to a wide variety of colors that makes it very attractive in the jewelry industry. Niobium is added to iron or nickel to produce alloys found in the aerospace, medical and electronics industries.


Niobium becomes a superconductor at cryogenic temperatures and has the greatest magnetic penetration depth of any element. Niobium has the lowest melting point of all the traditional refractory metals. Its chemical properties are very similar to those of tantalum which appear directly below niobium in the Periodic Table, however, the corrosion resistance of Niobium is not as robust as tantalum.


Niobium was called Columbium (symbol Cb) in the United States for approximately one hundred years, although in Europe it was referenced as Niobium. In 1949, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially adopted Niobium as the element’s name worldwide. Today, one can still find metallurgists and metal societies that still refer to Niobium as Columbium.


We are a distributor of Niobium from leading mills. We supply Niobium plate, round bar, rod, sheet, strip coil, wire. Please contact our sales team experts for our competitive pricing and material lead times.

Ed Fagan Inc. is the leading worldwide supplier of specialty metals and alloys for customers who require materials certified to ASTM standards, cost efficient pricing and an unmatched selection of inventory that is ready to ship. Select from our high-quality refractory, controlled expansion, soft magnetic alloys or electronic nickels in various forms, tempers and conditions.