Molybdenum is a very solid and tough transition metal and has a silvery white gloss. For many centuries the metal was confused with lead because of its great similarity. Today molybdenum is mainly used as an alloying element, but is also applied in other industries.

Wulfenite | Molybdenum-lead ore

In steel production, molybdenum is usually alloyed with other elements such as nickel, chromium and manganese. As an alloying element, it is very important for steel production, as it transfers its properties well to the products. High-strength, corrosion- and heat-resistant steels are achieved, but also acid-resistant rustproof steels.

The influence of molybdenum upon steel's properties:

Property Influence Degree
Rust resistance no bearing 0
Hardness Improvement + 1
Strength Improvement + 1
Yield strength Improvement + 1
Elasticity no bearing 0
Heat resistance Improvement + 2
Carbide formation Improvement + 3
Wear resistance Improvement + 2
Nitratability Improvement + 2
Strain Decrease - 1
Reduction of area Decrease - 1
Notched Impact Strength Improvement + 1
Forgeability Decrease - 1
Scaling Improvement + 2
Machinability Decrease - 1


Molybdenum is an essential trace element for all organisms, because it is needed for enzyme formation. It is also very important for plants, because it helps to bind nitrogen and decrease nitrate in the area around the roots.

See also

Accompanying Elements

Steel does not only consist of iron and carbon. Other elements can influence the properties of steel.

Read more
Alloying Elements

There is a large number of different alloying elements. Each one influences the material properties.

Read more

Here you can find out why aluminium was discovered so late and how aluminium can be produced.

Read more

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