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Meltstock molybdenum products

Meltstock molybdenum products are used extensively to produce various metal alloys. The table shows which meltstock products are typically used for each type of alloy.

Meltstock Mo products used for alloying
Tool steel &
high-speed steel
Roasted molybdenite concentrate (Technical Mo oxide) x x x
Ferromolybdenum x x x x
Mo metal pellets x

Stainless steel, carbon steel, tool steel, and high-speed steel are typically melted in an electric arc furnace. The initial charge usually contains alloy steel scrap, pig iron, and a source of "Mo units" to attain the proper composition.

Using scrap ensures that recycling provides an important share of the melt. Recycled material comes from in-house scrap, scrap collected from steel fabricators, and remelt stock purchased from recyclers. Depending on the steel grade and market factors, the molybdenum from recycled material can cover up to the full need. When virgin molybdenum is needed it is usually added as technical molybdenum oxide with the scrap charge to approach the specified molybdenum content. If only small amounts of new molybdenum are required, the final chemistry is typically reached through ferromolybdenum (FeMo) addition. After meltdown, the liquid metal is usually transferred into an AOD (Argon Oxygen Decarburization) vessel or a ladle furnace for further metallurgical treatment. Ferromolybdenum is added at this stage to adjust the composition to the specified Mo content.

FeMo is used exclusively as the source of molybdenum in cast iron. Superalloys, on the other hand, use only molybdenum pellets because of the alloys' requirement for high purity additions and vacuum melting.

Molybdenum metal scrap generated by mill product manufacturers is also used for alloy additions. The balance between molybdenum metal and other molybdenum sources depends upon the relative economics and availability of the various sources of molybdenum units.

Roasted molybdenite concentrate (technical Mo oxide)

Technical molybdenum oxide is the principal product for adding molybdenum to carbon and stainless steels. It typically contains 56-58% Mo and a maximum of 0.5% Cu, and is available in the following forms and packaging options:

  • Powder (max 400 mesh) packaged in:
    • Cans with 10 kg or 20 lbs Mo content
    • Steel drums (250 kg or 500 lbs)
    • Bulk bags ( 1000 kg or 1500 kg)
  • Pillow shaped briquettes
    • Packaged in steel drums (250 kg or 500 lbs)
    • Bulk bags (1000 kg or 1500 kg)

 Product standards include:

  • ASTM A146-04 Standard Specification for Molybdenum Oxide Products

Roasted molybdenum concentrate powder   Roasted molybdenum concentrate briquettes
Roasted molybdenum concentrate (Technical Mo oxide) powder (left) and briquettes
(Courtesy of Molymet, Chile)

Ferromolybdenum (FeMo)

FeMo can be used in any melting or refining unit to produce molybdenum-containing steel or cast iron. It is frequently used as a ladle addition to achieve accurate final adjustment of composition. In steels with low molybdenum content (usually no more than 0.2% Mo) like High Strength Low Alloy (HSLA) steel, all of the molybdenum is added as FeMo.

FeMo typically contains 65-75% Mo and a maximum of 0.5% Cu. The product is produced in size ranges between:

  • 0 and 10 mm
  • 10 mm on the low side and several maximum size limits between 20 and 100 mm

It is available as powder for special applications like welding electrodes. Packaging is normally in steel drums or big bags.
Product standards include:

  • ASTM A132-04 Standard Specification for Ferromolybdenum
  • DIN 17561, 2004-02, Ferromolybdenum

(Courtesy of Treibacher, Austria)

Mo metal pellets

Pure molybdenum metal (Mo min. 99.9%) is used for superalloys to avoid contamination with trace elements.

Molybdenum powder is pressed into pellets and sintered in hydrogen to chemically reduce adsorbed oxygen and oxide films on the powder particle surfaces, densify the pressed pellets, and increase pellet strength. Sintering minimizes the amount of oxygen the pellets carry into the melt and facilitates handling them in the melt shop.