Niobium (Nb) has a melting point of 2,468° C (4,474° F). Of the refractory metals, it has the lowest density and best workability. Niobium oxide (Nb2O5) is generally the starting chemical for the production of other compounds.

The oil & gas sector is still the market where the most important applications for HSLA steels are found (pipelines), but the automotive and the offshore & onshore structural engineering sectors now consume significant quantities of these alloys.