Niobium is a naturally occurring element. It is a readily available, reliable, soft metal that is ductile, malleable and highly resistant to corrosion. Because it enhances properties and functionality, niobium is used in a wide range of materials and applications.
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Element 41 was discovered in England in 1801 by Charles Hatchett while analyzing a sample of rock (columbite) sent to the British Museum from the United States. Until the discovery of pyrochlore deposits at the beginning of the 1950s, almost simultaneously in Canada (Oka) and in Brazil (Araxá), the use of niobium was limited. With the primary production of niobium, it became plentiful and an important element in the development of today's engineering and other materials.
Pictured is Djalma Guimarães, the Brazilian geologist who discovered the niobium ore deposit in Araxá, Minas Gerais in 1953.