Molybdenum is not a rare metal. It is mined in many regions of the world. Even though this metal is extensively mined, milled and processed, only a few deposits that have economic value are gathered. United States is among chief producers of Moly, alongside Canada, China and a few others.
1. Key properties
Moly does not occur in nature as a free element. It is removed from a mineral contained in an ore. It is found among chromium group members of the Periodic table. Molybdenum density is 10.22 g/cc. Moly has other good properties such as high toughness, ductility, thermal tolerance and ability to withstand welding.
2. Molybdenum mining
This highly utilized metal is found in two types of mines. The first type is primary mines where extraction of molybdenum is the sole goal of the miners. About four to six pounds of Moly are removed from approximately two thousand pounds of an ore. The ore is first excavated from an underground source. Then it is pounded and milled to remove molybdenum.
The next type is copper mines. The goal of miners is to extract molybdenum as a by-product of copper mining and processing. Therefore copper extraction is their prime target. But since molybdenum appears in large amounts, miners must recover it as well. The mineral that hides molybdenum is called molybdenite. It is usually removed from an ore through a cycle of crushing, milling and floatation. The process generates a substance containing mainly the molybdenite mineral.
3. Molybdenum uses
After Moly is recovered from an ore, it is baked to change the sulfide to oxide which leads to formation of technical molybdic oxide. The technical molybdic oxide has a very important use too, when steel and molybdenum are being mixed. Technical molybdic oxide with iron oxide via a thermite reaction can be reacted with aluminum to give rise to Ferromolybdenum or FeMo. This FeMo product is highly demanded when cast irons and steels are being combined with molybdenum.
In its pure status, molybdic oxide can be recovered from technical molybdic oxide via a wet chemical procedure. Alternatively it can be recovered via sublimation and in either case ammonium molybdate (a saleable chemical product) will be produced. Pure molybdic oxide is also a saleable product used in production of catalysts and chemicals. It is usually used by manufacturers who consider technical oxide impure. When pure oxide or ammonium molybdate contents are reduced via a hydrogen reduction chemical process, molybdenum powder is generated. Through vacuum melting, sintering or pressing, this metal power is fused into more usable molybdenum parts.
4. Who need molybdenum?
Since Moly is grey like many other metals, ordinary customers cannot easily recognize it. The biggest consumers of this metal are those who are in the steel industry. It is added to cast irons, stainless steel, steels and non-ferrous metal alloys. Molybdenum is often used in a less recognizable manner such as in light bulbs and television tubes. The black Molysulfide lubricant is now being used in industries, service stations and homes. Producers of high speed steels, steel tools, jet engines, turbine wheels and construction alloy steels all require molybdenum metal.
By Stanford Advanced Materials
Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) Corporation is a global supplier of a series of pure metals, alloys, ceramics and minerals such as oxides, chlorides, sulfides, oxysalts, etc. Our headquarter, located in Irvine, California, USA, was first established in 1994, starting to provide high-quality rare-earth products for research and development (R&D).