Niobium Manufacturing for Superconductivity - ASC-2014 Plenary series - 5 of 13 - Tuesday 2014/8/12
Niobium and its alloys and compounds continue to be the most dependable superconducting materials. The main continuous demand for niobium superconductors continue to be dictated by imaging machines for non-invasive diagnosis (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Future consumption could increase with applications in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Magnetic Separation, High-energy colliders, Superconducting R.F. Cavities, Magnetic Fusion, High-speed trains and superconducting computers to name few possible end-uses. It is estimated that superconducting applications of niobium currently represent less than 0.5% of all niobium consumed in the world, as niobium is mainly used as an alloying element in steel. Some 60,000 tonnes of niobium contained in different final applications were consumed in 2013 worldwide. Thus, niobium is plentiful and there is no risk of shortage for the material as CBMM Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineracao currently is undergoing an investment cycle that will result in installed manufacturing capacity for all niobium products of more than 100,000 tonnes of niobium contained per year. CBMM's current installed capacity is enough to supply total world's demand. In addition, there are several known niobium deposits in the world with potential for future development. This paper will summarize the complete manufacturing capabilities of CBMM in Brazil, as the only niobium supplier serving all segments of niobium application, from its mining operations to every final niobium product manufactured by the company, including niobium metal for superconducting applications. The results obtained by the company in the manufacture of niobium metal for superconducting R.F. cavities and niobium-titanium for magnetic resonance imaging will also be described.
Niobium Manufacturing Technology For Superconducting Applications - mining, manufacturing, and perspectives.