Niobium Element – Periodic table (Why is it a Transition Metal?)

Niobium (Nb) element in Periodic table (Electron configuration, Atomic mass, Atomic number, Symbol, Valence electrons)

This is a SUPER easy guide on Niobium element.

In fact, the table mentioned below is the perfect information box (Which gives you every single detail about the Niobium element in Periodic table.)

So if you want to know anything about Niobium element, then this guide is for you.

Let’s finish this very quickly.

Niobium Element (Nb) Information

Appearance of NiobiumNiobium (Nb) element appearance
Metallic grey
State of Niobium at STPSolid
Position of Niobium in Periodic tableNiobium in periodic table (Position)
Group: 5, Period: 5
Block: d
Category of Niobium elementNiobium element category
Transition metals
Atomic number of Niobium, or 
Protons in Niobium
41
Neutrons in Niobium52
Electrons in Niobium41
Symbol of NiobiumNb
Atomic mass of NiobiumNiobium (Nb) atomic mass
92.906 u
Electrons arrangement in Niobium

or 

Bohr model of Niobium
Bohr model of Niobium (Electrons arrangement in Niobium, Nb)
2, 8, 18, 12, 1
Electronic configuration of Niobium[Kr] 4d4 5s1
Atomic radius of NiobiumNiobium (Nb) atomic radius
207 picometers (van der Waals radius)
1st Ionization energy of Niobium6.759 eV
Electronegativity of NiobiumNiobium (Nb) electronegativity
1.6 (Pauling scale)
Crystal structure of Niobiumcrystal structure of niobium
BCC (Body Centered Cubic)
Melting point of Niobium2750 K or 2477 °C or 4491 °F
Boiling point of Niobium5017 K or 4744 °C or 8571 °F
Density of Niobium8.57 g/cm3
Main isotope of Niobium93Nb
Who discovered Niobium and when?who discovered niobium and when
Charles Hatchett in 1801
CAS number7440-03-1

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Niobium in Periodic table

Niobium element is in group 5 and period 5 of the Periodic table. Niobium is the d-block element and it belongs to transition metals group.

H He
Li Be B C N O F Ne
Na Mg Al Si P S Cl Ar
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se Br Kr
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo Tc Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I Xe
Cs Ba La* Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi Po At Rn
Fr Ra Ac** Rf Db Sg Bh Hs Mt Ds Rg Cn Nh Fl Mc Lv Ts Og
*Ce Pr Nd Pm Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu
**Th Pa U Np Pu Am Cm Bk Cf Es Fm Md No Lr

Why is Niobium in d block?

Why is niobium in d block

Before knowing this reason, first of all a simple question to you.

How can you determine the blocks wise position of elements?

The simple answer: The elements will lie in the s, p, d or f block will completely depend upon the subshell in which the last electron will enter.

For example; the electron configuration of Niobium is [Kr] 5s1 4d4.

So the last electron of Niobium enters the d-subshell or d-orbital. 

Hence, Niobium is the d-block element.

Is Niobium a Metal, Nonmetal or Metalloid?

Niobium is a Metal. It’s a metallic grey colored hard and ductile metal. If Niobium metal is kept open in the air, it forms the oxide layer of blue, green or yellow color depending on the thickness of the oxide layer.

is Niobium a metal Nonmetal or Metalloid

But do you know what exactly the metals are?

  • Metals are the elements which lose electron/s during a chemical reaction. 

In other words, metals are electron donors.

Metals are found on the left side of the Periodic table.

For more clarification, see the location of metals on the Periodic table (Image).

Why is Niobium a Transition Metal?

Why is niobium a Transition Metal

Niobium element is a transition metal because it has incompletely filled d-orbital in its ground state.

Let me explain the exact meaning of this.

According to the definition of transition metals;
The element should compulsorily have incomplete d-orbitals, either in their ground state (M) or most common oxidation states (M1+, M2+, etc) then only they are called transition metals.

Now, the ground state of Niobium means its normal state in which it has neither gained nor lost any electron/s.

So the ground state of Niobium is Nb.

And the ground state electronic configuration of Niobium is [Kr] 5s1 4d4.

In this state, if we see the electron configuration of Niobium, then it possesses incomplete d-orbitals.

niobium orbital diagram and electron configuration

Because, there are only four electrons in the d-orbitals. 

In order to have the complete d-orbitals, there must be 10 electrons in it.

But in the ground state electronic configuration of Niobium, you can see that it has only 4 electrons in d-orbitals.

Thus, Niobium has incomplete d-orbitals.

And hence, as Niobium has incomplete d-orbitals, it is considered as a transition metal.

Also see: Location of transition metals on periodic table (Image)

Does Niobium form Coloured Compounds?

Niobium is a transition metal and it has incompletely filled d-orbitals.

When light is incident on a Niobium metal, its outermost electron gets excited onto a higher energy level.

When this excited electron loses its energy, it again comes back to the lower energy level.

During this phenomenon, it emits an electromagnetic radiation which has the wavelength of visible light.

This emitted radiation has specific wavelengths depending upon the number of electrons present in the d-orbitals as well as elements with which niobium reacts.

Hence due to incomplete d-orbitals of Niobium, it forms colored compounds.

Interesting Facts about Niobium

Interesting facts about niobium element are mentioned below.

  • The former name of niobium (Nb) was columbium (Cb).
  • Around 80% of niobium is used in the production of steel.
  • The name Niobium came from the Greek goddess “Niobe” (meaning the daughter of king Tantalus).
  • According to USGS, most of the Niobium which is available today, comes from Brazil and Canada.
  • If Niobium metal is kept open in the air, it forms the oxide layer of blue, green or yellow color depending on the thickness of the oxide layer.

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References:
Chemical data: Chemspider, Wikipedia
Niobium element: Image by Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) (FAL or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons.
Charles Hatchett: Image by Engraving by F. C. Lewis after the painting by T. Phillips. From Faulkner’s History of Chelsea, 1829., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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