Molybdenum has long been known, but the element was "discovered" (in the sense of differentiating it as a new entity from minerals salts of other metals) in 1778 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele who thought that he was observing lead while studying a sample of molybdenite. Named from the Greek word "molybdos, which actually means lead, Scheele notice an apparent visual similarity, which upon further analysis, proved to be incorrect. His studies led him to conclude that the ore sample did not contain lead, but a new element, which he named molybdenum after the mineral molybdenite.
Unique molybdenum properties, which make molybdenummetal and its alloys the material of choice in a variety of high tech applications, include high temperature strength, thermal and electrical conductivity, combined with low thermal expansion and environmental stability.
|Crystal structure||Body-centered cubic (BCC)|
|Lattice constant||a = 3.1470 Å|
|Melting temperature||2623 °C|
|Coefficient of thermal expansion||4.8 x 10-6 / K at 25 °C|
|Thermal conductivity||138 W/m K at 20°C|
Molybdenum, element number 42 of the periodic table, lies in the table's second transition series, in Group 6A between chromium and tungsten.
It has one of the highest melting temperatures of all the elements, yet unlike most other high-melting point metals, its density is only 25% greater than iron's. Its coefficient of thermal expansion is the lowest of the engineering materials, while its thermal conductivity exceeds all but a handful of elements.
When added to steel and cast irons, molybdenum properties enhances strength, hardenability, weldability, toughness, elevated temperature strength, and corrosion resistance. In nickel-base alloys, it improves resistance to both corrosion and high-temperature creep deformation.
Molybdenum-based alloys have a unique combination of molybdenum properties, including high strength at elevated temperatures, high thermal and electrical conductivity, and low thermal expansion. Molybdenum metal and its alloys are the first choice in many demanding specialized applications.
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