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We carry Niobium Bars

Niobium was discovered by the English chemist Charles Hatchett in 1801. He found a new element in a mineral sample that had been sent to England from Massachusetts, United States in 1734 by a John Winthrop, and named the mineral columbite and the new element columbium after Columbia, the poetical name for America. The columbium discovered by Hatchett was probably a mixture of the new element with tantalum.

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Subsequently, there was considerable confusion over the difference between columbium (niobium) and the closely related tantalum. In 1809, the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston compared the oxides derived from both columbium—columbite, with a density 5.918 g/cm3, and tantalum—tantalite, with a density over 8 g/cm3, and concluded that the two oxides, despite the significant difference in density, were identical; thus he kept the name tantalum.[4] This conclusion was disputed in 1846 by the German chemist Heinrich Rose, who argued that there were two different elements in the tantalite sample, and named them after children of Tantalus: niobium (from Niobe), and pelopium (from Pelops). This confusion arose from the minimal observed differences between tantalum and niobium. The claimed new elements pelopium, ilmenium and dianium were in fact identical to niobium or mixtures of niobium and tantalum.

The differences between tantalum and niobium were unequivocally demonstrated in 1864 by Christian Wilhelm Blomstrand, and Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville, as well as Louis J. Troost, who determined the formulas of some of the compounds in 1865[8][9] and finally by the Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac[10] in 1866, who all proved that there were only two elements. Articles on ilmenium continued to appear until 1871.

De Marignac was the first to prepare the metal in 1864, when he reduced niobium chloride by heating it in an atmosphere of hydrogen.[12] Although de Marignac was able to produce tantalum-free niobium on a larger scale by 1866, it was not until the early 20th century that niobium was first used commercially, in incandescent lamp filaments.[9] This use quickly became obsolete through the replacement of niobium with tungsten, which has a higher melting point and thus is preferable for use in incandescent lamps. The discovery that niobium improves the strength of steel was made in the 1920s, and this application remains its predominant use.[9] In 1961 the American physicist Eugene Kunzler and coworkers at Bell Labs discovered that niobium-tin continues to exhibit superconductivity in the presence of strong electric currents and magnetic fields,[13] making it the first material to support the high currents and fields necessary for useful high-power magnets and electrically powered machinery. This discovery would allow — two decades later — the production of long multi-strand cables that could be wound into coils to create large, powerful electromagnets for rotating machinery, particle accelerators, or particle detectors.

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