Molybdenum: Manufacturing Process and Use in Nuclear Reactors


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Incandescent lamps used the first molybdenum product in the form of lead wire. This event took place early in the 20th century. Strength and stability of molybdenum at high temperatures were main factors that made it a choice for this application. However, since then molybdenum has found place in many other applications. It has become possible because later studies discovered that this element has many other useful properties. It offers unique combination of these properties which we cannot get from other metals.

Manufacturing Process

The process of manufacturing of molybdenum product is also different from traditional smelting process. This is because it has very high melting point. Moreover, it also has the tendency of oxidizing at comparatively low temperatures. Instead of smelting, a number of grinding and separation steps are performed to extract the metal from ore. First, molybdenum disulphide is isolated form other components. Next step involves roasting where molybdic oxide and sulfur oxide is produced. We can extract molybdenum from this oxide after a long series of many other reactions.

Use of molybdenum in manufacturing of electronic and electrical devices is very common. Scientists later revealed that not only it has the high temperature strength but it also has many other qualities that make it very important for various applications. Its extraordinary electrical and thermal conductivity makes it suitable for delicate silicon appliances.

Use in Nuclear Reactors

Molybdenum also plays an important role in global nuclear revival. The scenario would be different in the absence of this precious white metal. Earlier, copper based alloys were used in nuclear reactors. Tubes made from these alloys had the average life of 8 years. Later high performance stainless steel replaces copper-based alloys. This steel has about 7.5 % molybdenum and is capable of making life of these nuclear reactors three times longer.

Stainless steel industry alone uses about 25% of global industrial use of molybdenum. 35% is used in structured steel while tools and high speed steel use 14%, molybdenum elemental metal uses 6%, super alloys use 5% and cast iron use 6% of total production. Remaining 14% is used in chemical applications.

Molybdenum is also good substitute for tungsten. It successfully replaced tungsten in many high speed steels as an alloying agent. In addition to being an alloying agent, it is also good as flame resistant coating. Missile and aircraft parts industry also uses molybdenum because of better strength at high temperatures.

Health sector is also an important area where molybdenum product is very useful. In fact, molybdenum is an essential element for proper functioning of some vital organs of our body. It stimulates the absorption of iron in body thereby reducing the risk of anemia. Whenever someone faces the scarcity of this useful element in body, he or she should immediately take some action in this regard. Molybdenum supplement can be very useful in these cases. Although a lot of companies offer various molybdenum supplements, yet it is better to perform a thorough research before buying the supplement.

By Stanford Materials

Stanford Materials Corporation is a worldwide supplier of various oxides, metals, alloys, advanced ceramic materials, and minerals. It was established in 1994 to supply high quality rare earth products to our customers in the research and development fields. To meet increasing demands for rare earth products and other materials, Stanford Materials now carries a variety of materials to serve not only our customers in research and development but also manufacturers in the ceramic, metallurgy and electronic industries. Stanford Materials carries both technical grade materials for industries as well as high purity chemicals (up to 99.99999%) for research institutes.

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