• In order to improve your experience on our website, we use functionally necessary session cookies, but no advertising or social media cookies.
  • We use the Google Analytics service to analyse website use and visitor numbers as part of a continual improvement process. Google Analytics generates statistical and other information about our website’s use. The privacy policy of Google Analytics can be found here: Google Analytics.
  • You can withdraw your consent at any time on our Privacy Notice page.

Role of Molybdenum

What is molybdenum?

Molybdenum, atomic number 42, is a transition metal, the second member of Group 6 of the Periodic Table, 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.

Molybdenum properties
Atomic number 42
Atomic weight 95.96
Crystal structure Body-centered cubic (BCC)
Lattice constant a = 3.1470 Å
Density 10.22 g/cm3
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 metal and molybdenum-based alloys have a unique combination of properties, including:

  • High strength at elevated temperatures
  • High thermal and electrical conductivity
  • Low thermal expansion

Molybdenum metal and its alloys are therefore the first choice in many demanding specialized applications in electronics, heat treatment and metal processing.

A little molybdenum goes a long way

The bulk of molybdenum is used as an alloying element in steels and other metals. Its unique features make it highly effective in improving the properties of a variety of alloys.  As little as 0.1% molybdenum has a marked effect on the strength of carbon steels and 0.5% molybdenum can noticeably improve the corrosion resistance of stainless steels.

The key effects in different alloy systems are:

  • In carbon steels, molybdenum boosts hardness, strength and high-temperature strength, while retaining good toughness and ductility as well as weldability
  • In stainless steels, it improves corrosion resistance and high-temperature strength
  • In nickel-based alloys, it raises corrosion resistance
  • In superalloys, it plays a role in bolstering high-temperature strength

Molybdenum increases longevity in applications

Because molybdenum enhances the performance of alloys, it strongly contributes to the sustainability of many applications. Through light-weighting, improved durability and reduced maintenance it increases longevity; safety and efficiency; and saves resources and energy. Molybdenum-containing materials are used across nearly all industry sectors, including building and construction, chemical and other processing, oil and gas, mechanical engineering, power generation, transportation, medical and consumer products.

Molybdenum is essential for life

Molybdenum is an essential trace element crucial for life, with functions that range from enabling nitrogen fixation in plants to metabolism of amino acids in humans and animals. Healthy plant life is promoted by molybdenum-supplementation of some soils, and in humans it is synthesized into enzymes that play a vital role in maintaining bodily functions.