Niobium microalloying

There is barely a technology that had more impact on the development of modern high performance steel than niobium microalloying. Since its first few applications in the 1960’s, niobium microalloying has entered nearly every product class and every application sector providing sometimes spectacular improvements and cost savings. Recently, it was discovered that niobium also has a grain refining effect in aluminum. The following links provide more details:

Niobium in automotive steel
Niobium in cast iron
Niobium in aluminum

Niobium is alloyed to carbon steel in very small amounts, usually not more than 1 kg of Nb per ton of steel.
The principal metallurgical effects of Nb in steel are:
  • Grain refinement (increasing strength and toughness)
  • Precipitation strengthening
  • Transformation control
  • Stabilization of interstitials (C, N)
  • Creep resistance (high temperature)
  • Hydrogen trapping
Activating these effects requires a dedicated adjustment of the alloy in combination with appropriate processing.

NiobelCon has substantial experience in developing Nb-based metallurgical concepts. Besides understanding the fundamental metallurgical principles, we look at the requirements of applications and help designing steels to optimum performance.

Niobium carbide (NbC) - a new super-hard material

In the arena of hardmetals, tungsten carbide has been the dominating hard material for decades. Other transition metal carbides like those of chromium, vanadium and titanium are also well-established. However, surprisingly little attention has been paid to niobium carbide. Actually, niobium carbide is occasionally being used as minority phase in hardmetals, castings and tool steels. In these applications it serves either as grain refiner or as hard phase helping to enhance wear resistance. Furthermore it limits grain growth and enhances hot hardness. Although some data on the fundamental properties of pure niobium carbide have been reported, many details were missing.

NiobelCon in cooperation with CBMM, KU Leuven (MTM) and Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) have been performing intensive research to identify the full potential of niobium carbide in super-hard material applications as well as to develop and qualify NbC-based alloy systems.

For more details please visit:
Niobium carbide (NbC)

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