Niob, with the chemical symbol Nb, was first discovered in 1801 by the British chemist Charles Hatchett. It is a transition metal and is found on Earth in various minerals, most commonly in the niobium pyrochlore group. The discovery of niobium contributed to expanding the understanding of the chemical composition of minerals.
Niobium is not excessively abundant, with its occurrence in the Earth's crust being around 20 ppm. It is primarily extracted from niobium minerals. One fascinating application of niobium lies in the production of superalloys, particularly used in aerospace, especially in engines, due to its outstanding heat resistance and strength. Niobium plays a crucial role in critical high-temperature applications.
Future applications could focus on technologies in the renewable energy sector. Niobium is actively researched for its use in superconductors, particularly for advancing superconductor cables in energy transmission. These applications could contribute to improving the efficiency of power grids and supporting the integration of renewable energies.