C-103 Nb alloy is a complex refractory metal alloy consisting of niobium (Nb) with additions of 10wt% Hf (hafnium) and 1wt% Ti (titanium). Used almost since the beginning of the space age, C103 is a proven, well understood material offering exceptional mechanical strength and stability across the huge temperature ranges encountered in space (from cryogenic to high temperatures where the metal becomes red hot).

H.C. Starck Solutions is renowned for producing first-in-class engineered materials for some of the most demanding industries and markets. Our success is built on ample expertise and a thorough understanding of how ceramic and metallic materials perform under given conditions, enabling us to offer exceptional quality, highly reliable products.

C-103 Nb alloys are among the leading refractory metals used in propulsion and space exploration technologies. In this article, we will outline the properties and applications of C-103 in greater depth.

What is C-103 Nb Alloy?

C-103 Nb is an alloy comprised of carefully controlled amounts of niobium, hafnium, titanium, and additional alloying elements. Using a precise and complicated manufacturing process, we produce C-103 Nb alloys with extremely consistent microstructure resulting in exceptionally well controlled material properties.

We work closely with customers to supply a variety of C103 products including bars, rods, sheet, plate, ingot, slabs, powders, and custom fabricated parts.

C-103 Nb Alloy Properties: Fabricability, Stress Resistance & High-Strength

The primary advantage of C-103 Nb alloy is its exceptional high-temperature strength (for a relatively lightweight material) which it can maintain up to temperatures as high as 1482°C! This level of stability also extends into negative temperatures; in addition, C-103 also displays a low susceptibility to high-frequency vibrations at temperatures below -150°C. C-103 can also be made into such a variety of shapes and configurations due to its relatively high formability. In addition, it can be welded via TIG (tungsten inert gas) processes without significant loss of ductility or machinability. We target the alloy to meet or exceed ASTM/AMS specifications but are open to certain levels of customization when applications require it.

Applications for C-103 Nb Alloys

The unique properties of C-103 Nb alloys make them ideal for challenging aerospace applications. C-103 is able to withstand the conditions of jet engines and orbital rocket chambers or nozzles, for instance. Designers have also leveraged C-103 Nb alloys for jet engine afterburner liners, relying on the combination of formability and performance to meet the strictest application requirements.

If you are looking for a precision metallic alloy for aerospace or satellite applications and are considering C-103 Nb, simply contact a member of the H.C. Starck Solutions design team today with any questions.