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niobium carbide (NbC) is an extremely hard refractory ceramic material with a green cubic crystal structure and metallic luster. It has a high melting point, good thermal conductivity and resistivity, and is highly corrosion resistant and wear-resistant. It is a frequent additive as a grain growth inhibitor in cemented carbides and is useful in superhard materials. It is also a component in tungsten and zirconium carbide crucibles and foundry refractory materials. It is not substituted easily by other alloys in most of its applications, especially in lighting and radiation shielding.
It is fusible in titanium carbide, zirconium carbide and tungsten carbide to obtain various composite materials. In the production process, niobium carbide can be produced by several methods: 1. Direct method: Metal niobium powder and carbon black are matched in proportion and fully mixed; they are heated to 1600
2. Chemical vapor reaction method: Niobium pentachloride vapor and hydrogen are mixed to directly react to form niobium carbide. This niobium carbide is further purified by calcination to get a final product. This method has the advantage of a low temperature and continuous production process, but it suffers from low conversion efficiency and the need for high temperatures.
Zirconium and hafnium are often substituted for tungsten in light-emitting diodes, and in radiation shielding and casting (USGS Minerals Yearbook 2010). However, it is difficult to replace tungsten carbide in other applications without significant cost increases or quality losses.