Niobium is a shiny, white, soft and ductile transition metal. It takes a bluish cast when exposed to air at room temperature for an extended period of time. It starts to oxidize in air at 200° C. When processed, it must be placed in a protective atmosphere at moderate temperatures. Niobium has superconductive properties and it has been useful in making superconductive magnets in the form of niobium-zirconium (Nb-Zr) wire, which retains its superconductivity in strong magnetic fields.
Niobium is also used arc-welding rods for stabilized grades of stainless steel. Thousands of pounds of niobium have been used in air frame systems, including in the Gemini space program. Niobium is also commonly used in making jewelry