Applications of Molybdenum

​Molybdenum is a silvery grey metal that is not found in a pure state in nature. It is usually associated with other elements, such as is the case of sulfurated ores, from which one can also obtain copper. Thus it is common for molybdenum to be regarded as a byproduct of the copper extraction operation.

In the periodic table of chemical elements, molybdenum is identified with number 42 and the symbol Mo. It melts at a temperature of 2,610 degrees Celsius.

Its name originates from the Greek word, “molybdos”, meaning “lead-like”, in a clear allusion to its color. Although some say that it was known in ancient times, it was only during the World War I that its use in steel alloys was made known. Molybdenum was utilized instead of wolfram (aka tungsten) that in those times was scarce, and so began its commercial application.

Its main characteristics are durability, strength and resistance to corrosion and high temperatures.

Molybdenum is a metal used as raw material in order to obtain alloys, among which more resistant steel stands out. Approximately two thirds of this metal is used for this purpose, also known as inox, with contents up to 6%.

The steel alloy withstands high temperatures and pressures, being very resistant. This is why it is used in construction, to manufacture airplane parts and wrought car parts. Molybdenum wires are utilized in electronic tubes and the metal also functions as electrode in glass furnaces.

Among its many applications is a superalloy that can be obtained from a nickel base, to produce catalysts which are used to eliminate sulfur in the oil industry.

In addition, it is utilized in the industrial process of lubricants (molybdenum disulfide is resistant to high temperatures, reduces wear and friction of motor parts – as may be the case of vehicle brakes), in the manufacture of linings and solvents, in the chemical industry (pigments for plastics, paints and rubber compounds) and in the electronic industry (electric conductors).

Molybdenum is also deemed to be a strategic material and has multiple applications in the aerospace and automobile industries, for surgical tools, as well as for manufacturing light bulbs (filament) and LCD screens, for water treatment and even for applying laser beams.

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