Niobium is a soft, grey, ductile transition metal, often found in the minerals pyrochlore (the main commercial source for niobium) and columbite.
Protons and Neutrons in Niobium
Niobium is a chemical element with atomic number 41 which means there are 41 protons in its nucleus. Total number of protons in the nucleus is called the atomic number of the atom and is given the symbol Z. The total electrical charge of the nucleus is therefore +Ze, where e (elementary charge) equals to 1,602 x 10-19 coulombs.
The total number of neutrons in the nucleus of an atom is called the neutron number of the atom and is given the symbol N. Neutron number plus atomic number equals atomic mass number: N+Z=A. The difference between the neutron number and the atomic number is known as the neutron excess: D = N – Z = A – 2Z.
For stable elements, there is usually a variety of stable isotopes. Isotopes are nuclides that have the same atomic number and are therefore the same element, but differ in the number of neutrons. Mass numbers of typical isotopes of Niobium are 93.
Main Isotopes of Niobium
Niobium occurs in 3 natural isotopes: 92Nb, 93Nb and 94Nb. Because 92Nb and 94Nb occur tracely, 93Nb is the most common isotope, having a natural abundance of approximately 100%.
Niobium-92 is composed of 41 protons, 51 neutrons, and 41 electrons.
Niobium-93 is composed of 41 protons, 52 neutrons, and 41 electrons.
Niobium-94 is composed of 41 protons, 53 neutrons, and 41 electrons.
Electrons and Electron Configuration
The number of electrons in an electrically-neutral atom is the same as the number of protons in the nucleus. Therefore, the number of electrons in neutral atom of Niobium is 41. Each electron is influenced by the electric fields produced by the positive nuclear charge and the other (Z – 1) negative electrons in the atom.
Since the number of electrons and their arrangement are responsible for the chemical behavior of atoms, the atomic number identifies the various chemical elements. The configuration of these electrons follows from the principles of quantum mechanics. The number of electrons in each element’s electron shells, particularly the outermost valence shell, is the primary factor in determining its chemical bonding behavior. In the periodic table, the elements are listed in order of increasing atomic number Z.
Electron configuration of Niobium is [Kr] 4d4 5s1.
Possible oxidation states are +3,5.
Most Common Alloys of Niobium
Zirconium alloys with niobium are used as claddings of fuel elements of VVER and RBMK reactors. These alloys are the basis material of the assembly channel of the RBMK reactor. The Zr + 1% Nb alloy of type N-1 E-110 is used for fuel element claddings, the Zr + 2.5% Nb alloy of type E-125 is applied for tubes of assembly channels.
|Number of protons||41|
|Number of neutrons (typical isotopes)||93|
|Number of electrons||41|
|Electron configuration||[Kr] 4d4 5s1|
Properties of other elements