Molybdenum

Molybdenum is a transition metal on the periodic table of elements. Its symbol is Mo. It’s atomic number is 42, has an atomic mass of 96, contains 42 protons, 54 neutrons, and 42 electrons. It is silvery white, but can be a soft black powder that resembles graphite. It is a byproduct of copper and tungsten. Molybdenum gets its name from the Greek word “molybdos”, referring to “lead-like”. It can be found and mined in the USA, Peru, Russia, Chile, Canada, and China. Its small portions are essential for animals and plants, and is found in nitrogenase.            

The origin of Molybdenum began with Molybdena. It had been carried out as though it were graphite, and a common lead ore.  In 1754, it had been the Swedish, Bengt Andersson Qvist, who discovered it was not lead, nor identical to galena. Around 1778, the Swedish scientist, Carl Wilhelm Scheele, discovered it was “the ore of a distinct new element” says “The Elements.” Google Books, Google, books.google.com/books?. He decomposed it in hot nitric acid, and heated the product in the air, allowing a white oxide powder. Hence he was able to determine that molybdenite was a sulfide compound pertaining to an unidentified element in that time. However, it was first isolated and announced by Peter Jacob Hjelm in 1781. According to Association, IMOA International Molybdenum, “… Hjelm chemically reduced the oxide with carbon, obtaining a dark metal powder that he named ‘molybdenum.’” Soon after, molybdenum was proven to be more effective than tungsten (a hard steel-gray transition metal) in several steel alloys. Molybdenum had even substituted many impact-resistant tungsten steels in World War I, due to tungsten shortages. Nonetheless, it became a widely accepted technical material after World War I, and was seen as a strategic importance during World War II.

Its melting point is very high, and therefore is produced and sold in the form of powder. A high pressure is used to compact the powder, and compose its items. It obtains great strength in increases of temperature, includes a high thermal and electrical conductivity, and low thermal expansion. When steel is added from a range of 0.25%-8% it can withstand pressures up to 300,000 lbs. per square inch. With cast irons and steel, molybdenum is able to heighten its strength, its joining of others, corrosion resistance, hardenability, and temperature strength. “When alloyed with nickel, molybdenum forms heat and corrosion resistant materials used in the chemical industry,” states It’s Elemental – The Element Molybdenum, Jefferson Lab.

It is mainly used as an alloying factor in steel. This includes valves and boilers.  “It is used in steel alloys to increase strength, hardness, electrical conductivity and resistance to corrosion and wear” advises “Molybdenum – Element Information, Properties and Uses | Periodic Table.” Royal Society of Chemistry – Advancing Excellence in the Chemical Sciences, www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/42/molybdenum. Its metal is also used in some missile and aircraft parts, and in the nuclear power industry. It also improves the resistance for pitting and fissure of all stainless steels, especially in chloride-containing solutions. It is inclusively also used as a catalyst when refining petroleum. It can make the electrodes pertaining to electrically heated glass furnaces. One of its compounds, MoS2, is used as a lubricant for high temperature. It is also used as inks for circuit boards, pigments, and electrodes.                       

Ammonium octamolybdate and molybdenum trioxide are used as smoke suppressants. An example would be PVC cabling. They act by undergoing reduction to lower valent molybdenum, and then cross links the plastic to create a char. The formation of smoke particles are then prevented when the molybdenum stabilises the char.

Overall, Molybdenum is used mostly in steel, and is a strong element.