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Niobium facts for kids

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Niobium metal
A sheet of niobium

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.

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. It is in the superconducting alloys used in MRI scanners, which are one of the most important medical inventions of the modern age.

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