Applications of molybdenum
Molybdenum is a valuable alloying agent, as it contributes to the harden ability and toughness of quenched and tempered steels. It also improves the strength of steel at high temperatures. Molybdenum is used in alloys, electrodes and catalysts. The Second World War German artillery piece called "Big Bertha" contains molybdenum as an essential component of its steel.
It is used in certain nickel -based alloys, such as the "Hastelloys(R)" which are heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant to chemical solutions. Moly oxidizes at elevated temperatures. The metal has found recent application as electrodes for electrically heated glass furnaces and foreheaths. The metal is also used in nuclear energy applications and for missile and aircraft parts. Molybdenum is valuable as a catalyst in the refining of petroleum. It has found applications as a filament material in electronic and electrical applications. Molybdenum is an essential trace element in plant nutrition. Some lands are barren for lack of this element in the soil. Molybdenum sulfide is useful as a lubricant, especially at high temperatures where oils would decompose. Almost all ultra-high strength steels with minimum yield points up to 300,000 psi(lb/in.2) contain mo in amounts from 0.25 to 8%.
Moly powders are used in circuit inks for circuit boards, and in microwaves devices and heat sinks for solid-state devices.
Distributions of molybdenum
The world's largest producers of mo materials are the United States, China, Chile, Peru and Canada.Though mo is found in such minerals as wulfenite (PbMoO4) and powellite (CaMoO4), the main commercial source of mo is molybdenite (MoS2). Molybdenum is mined as a principal ore, and is also recovered as a byproduct of copper and tungsten mining. Large mines in Colorado (such as the Henderson mine and the now-inactive Climax mine)and in British Columbia yield molybdenite as their primary product, while many porphyry copper deposits such as the Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah and the Chuquicamata mine in northern Chile produce moly as a byproduct of copper mining. The Knaben mine in southern Norway was opened in 1885, making it the first mo mine.
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