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The chief ores of molybdenum are Molybdenite Wulf-fenite Molybdite MoS2




2MoO3 (Impure)


The crude MoO3 obtained as above is extracted with hot conc.NH4OH (NH4)2MoO4. to get the crystals of ammonium molybdate,

MoO3 (Impure)
PbMoO4 and Fe2O3.3MoO3.7 H2O Now the


(NH4)2MoO4, on




relatively pure MoO3.

Extraction of molybdenum from molybdenite ore (MoS2)

The extraction of molybdenum from molybdenite ore consists of the following steps:





3. Reduction of MoO3 into Mo metal:

MoO3 obtained as above is reduced to Mo metal either by H2, carbon or Al (Alumino thermic process). Mo metal obtained

1. Concentration of the ore:

Molybdenite ore is crushed in jaw-crushes and

by the second method is contaminated with some carbide of molybdenum.

powdered in ball mills. Now the powdered ore is concentrated by froth floatation process.

MoO3 MoO3 MoO3

+ + +

3H2 3C 2Al

Mo Mo Mo

+ + +

3H2O 3CO Al2O3

2. Conversion of molybdenite ore (MoS2) into MoO3: (Roasting)

Concentrated molybdenite ore is roasted in a

4. Purification of Mo metal:
Mo metal obtained as above is contaminated with impurities. In order to remove impurities, crude Mo metal

reverberatory furnace in a plenty supply of air to get the crude MoO3.

Department of Chemistry, Sri SaradaNiketan College of Arts & Science for Women, Kanavaipudur

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obtained as above is heated with CO at 200oC under pressure of about 200 atmosphere when Mo(CO)6 is formed.

Chemical properties (1) Reaction in air

At room temperature molybdenum is stable, when

Mo (Impure)


heated at 600oC it burns in air giving its oxide.

Mo(CO)6 on being heated at 360 410oC, gets decomposed to form pure Mo metal.

600oC 2 Mo
Mo(CO)6 Mo (Pure) + 6CO

+ 3 O2

2 MoO3

Preparation of pure molybdenum metal:

Thermal decomposition of molybdenum pentachloride on an electrically heated molybdenum filament gives pure metal.

(2) Reaction with water

Pure metal is not affected by water. It decomposes steam at 700oC.

(3) Reaction with acids

2MoCl5 Molybdenum filament 2Mo (Pure) + 5Cl2
Molybdenum does not react with hydrofluoric acid and hydrochloric acid. It does not react with dil.H2SO4, but hot conc.H2SO4 reacts with molybdenum evolving SO2 gas.

Physical properties
1) Massive Mo has typical silver white appearance and metallic properties. 2) 3) It is easily malleable and ductile. Pure metal possesses metallic lustre.


3 H2SO4


3 H2O +

3 SO2

Hot dil.HNO3 dissolves molybdenum to give nitrogen peroxide.


6 HNO3


3 H2O

6 NO2

Department of Chemistry, Sri SaradaNiketan College of Arts & Science for Women, Kanavaipudur

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(4) Reaction with alkalies

Molybdenum reacts with the molten alkali forming alkali molybdates.

6) (NH4)2MoO4 is used to detect and estimate phosphate and arsenic in chemical analysis.

Ammonium molybdate, (NH4)2MoO4


8 NaOH

4 Na2MoO2

4 H2

This compound is obtained by the treatment of MoO3 with NH4OH and evaporating the solution to crystallization.

(5) Reaction with halogens

At room temperature molybdenum reacts with fluorine giving vaporable fluoride.




1. It is a white crystalline powder, soluble in water and insoluble in alcohol. 2. The solution of ammonium molybdate in dil.HNO3 slowly deposits yellow -molybdic acid, H2MoO4.H2O which on warming

1) Molybdenum is used in thermo couples for high temperature measurement. 2) Both in radio valves and bulbs molybdenum is used as filament support. 3) Mo is used in the manufacture of standard weights.

at 70oC with H2O forms white -molybdic acid, H2MoO4. The two acids have different X ray spectra and vapour pressure. 3. When a solution of ammonium molybdate and HCl is dialysed, colloidal molybdic acid is obtained. 4. On heating the salt alone or with HNO3, MoO3 is obtained. 5. When a phosphate or an arsenate is heated with conc.HNO3 and (NH4)2MoO4 solution, yellow precipitate of ammonium phosphomolybdate, (NH4)3PO4.12MoO3 or ammonium

4) In potteries, Mo compounds are used as blue pigments. 5) Molybdenum compounds are used for dyeing silk and wool and for colouring leather and rubber.

arsenomolybdate, (NH4)3AsO4.12MoO3 is obtained.

Department of Chemistry, Sri SaradaNiketan College of Arts & Science for Women, Kanavaipudur

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1. Molybdenum blue is a deep blue colloidal solution. The actual colour of the solution depends on the concentration of

molybdenum, pH of the medium, nature of the reducing agent and temperature of the reaction. The solution resembles indigo blue in appearance. It is very soluble in water and also in some of the organic solvents. 2. On heating molybdenum blue above 350oC, only H2O molecules

Ammonium molybdate is used: 1) as an analytical reagent for the detection and

are lost while the OH groups remain attached.

1) Formation of molybdenum blue is utilized in the detection and calorimetric determination of Mo.

estimation of PO43- and AsO43- ions 2) as a catalyst for dehydrogenation in petroleum and coal technology.

Phosphorus is indirectly estimated by this method. 2) Because of the colloidal nature of molybdenum blue, it is easily absorbed on vegetable and animal fibres and hence is used for dyeing those fibres.

Molybdenum blue Preparation

1. It is obtained by treating molybdic acid or an acidic solution of a molybdate with a reducing agent like SO2, H2S, HI, hydrazine, glucose, zinc or molybdenum metal. 2. It can also be obtained by reducing MoO3 in 25 75% H2SO4 with Cu+ ions or, Sn2+ ions in presence of sunlight.

Department of Chemistry, Sri SaradaNiketan College of Arts & Science for Women, Kanavaipudur

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