The chemical element niobium
Niobium ( after Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus) is a rare heavy metal of grey colour that shines in white on polished surfaces. In the American speaking area it is also called differently Columbium. As a natural mineral it is found together with tantalum and can be extracted from the minerals coltan, niobite and loparite. A density of 8.58 g/cm³ and a high melting point of 2,477 °C are characteristic for this chemical element. Niobium can be easily deformed even at low temperatures and is therefore easy to forge.
The properties of niobium are very similar to those of tantalum (hence its name), but its characteristic values are always in the shadow of those of tantalum.
It is used as an alloy surcharge both in superalloys and in special steels due to its lower price. Niobium is used as an oxide raw material for the production of spectacle lenses and camera lenses. It is also used in screens and touchscreens because it is highly scratch-resistant and also antireflects optical surfaces.