CBMM champions another novel use for niobium: disc brakes

CBMM champions another novel use for niobium: disc brakes

Brazil’s CBMM published a study comparing the use of niobium versus molybdenum in disc brakes for vehicles. The company showed that 0.11% Nb can replace 0.22% Mo and highlighted niobium’s price stability as a reason for OEMs to consider the switch.

Blue View

CBMM’s raison d'être is the grow the niobium market, as it has done since the 1960s.  Over the past four decades, it has successfully championed the use of niobium, and has slowly built demand for its core product: ferroniobium.  Steel accounts for >90% of niobium demand in any given year, with ferroniobium used mainly in high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steels.  Ferroniobium finds application in flat steel products, notably those used in structural applications, automotive and aerospace, but also in a variety of other steels and alloys including structural rebar, and some stainless steels. 

More recently, the company has shown that it is committed to accelerating the development of novel technologies utilising niobium.  This has been particularly marked in the battery space.  CBMM has stated that the rechargeable battery market will account for as much as 25% of its revenue by 2030, and reports suggest that the company expects to boost its overall niobium oxide sales from current levels of around 100tpy to at least 45ktpy in 2030. 

CBMM referencing of niobium’s attributes in brake discs represents its latest promotion of niobium in key industrial applications.  Its study suggests that, compared with other more expensive materials, a niobium alloy strategy for gray cast iron to be used in brake discs can reduce production costs by around 10%, besides helping extend brake disc life. 

Project Blue notes that while ferroniobium prices have remained typically stable of late, prices for ferromolybdenum are up over 70% year-on-year, with a combination of stainless steel tax rebates, mine closures and the Russia-Ukraine conflict having pushed prices up over the past year.

  • 23 May 2022
  • Brazil
  • CBMM
  • Niobium
  • Molybdenum

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