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c103 niobium is used in space propulsion and exploration applications due to its incredible heat resistance. It is also very lightweight, durable and can withstand cryogenic temperatures.
This refractory metal alloy was first used in space decades ago by NASA, within the rocket nozzles of the Apollo Lunar Command Module. It is made from a blend of Niobium, Hafnium and Titanium and has superior formability, machinability and weldability. It is an exceptionally strong and stable material that has good corrosion resistance in liquid alkali metals and molten salts, high strength over a broad temperature range (up to 1400-1800°C) and a low ductile-to-brittle transition point that allows it to sustain heavy vibrations at cryogenic temperatures.
It is a difficult metal to machine and weld, but it can be done with the right equipment. It must be worked in a vacuum or under high inert gas pressures, as hot niobium reacts with oxygen and nitrogen in the air. All tooling must be hard chrome-plated to prevent copper contamination. It can be welded with arc and electron beam welding methods, though the quality of welds will depend on the purity of the argon and vacuum being used.
6K Additive manufactures the highest-quality niobium hafnium titanium alloy spherical powders, available in both fine and coarse sizes (nominal 15-53 um). Our spherical powders are perfect for use with high-performance additive manufacturing processes that require complex materials with extreme mechanical properties. They are also ideal for challenging aerospace or hypersonic applications that have a requirement for high tensile and strength-to-density ratios.