Pure molybdenum has a high tensile strength and is very resistant to heat. It is principally used as an alloying agent in steel to increase strength, hardenability, and resistance to heat.
Uses. Molybdenum is used mainly as an alloy. Heating elements, switches, contacts, thermocouplers, welding electrodes, and cathode ray tubes are made of molybdenum. Molybdenum does not occur naturally as a free metal on Earth, but rather in various oxidation states in minerals. The free element, which is a silvery metal with a gray cast, has the sixth-highest melting point of any element. It readily forms hard, stable carbides in alloys, and for this reason most of world production of the element (about 80%) is in making many types of steel alloys, including high strength alloys and superalloys.
Capabilities. Molybdenum can be swaged, rolled, drawn, or machined.
Limitations. Molybdenum can only be welded by atomic hydrogen arc, or butt welded by resistance heating in vacuum. It is attacked by nitric acid, hot sulfuric acid, and hot hydrochloric acid.
Properties. Pure molybdenum has a tensile strength of 100,000 psi (689,500 kPa) (sheet) and 30,000 Psi (206,850 kPa) (wire); Brinell hardness number of 160 to 185; specific gravity of 10.2; meting point of 4800°F (2649°C); retains hardness and strength at high temperatures; and is corrosion resistant.