Because of its high melting point, it is used to support the filament in electric lamps and for furnace heating elements. It also finds use in corrosion-resistant, high-temperature steels and alloys.
Molybdenum is unreactive, but forms various covalent compounds. Some are used as industrial catalysts. Molybdenum is a vital trace element in plants and a catalyst in bacterial nitrogen fixation.
Discovery of molybdenumMolybdenum was discovered by the Swedish scientist Peter Hjelm in 1781, three years after his compatriot Carl William Scheele proposed that a previously unknown element could be found in the mineral molybdenite. While studying molybdenite in 1778, Scheele at first thought he had identified lead in it (molybdenite is named after the Greek molybdos for lead). But Sheele's investigations led him to conclude that the did not contain lead, but a new element, molybdenum which he named after the mineral. (The mineral scheelite (Ca(WO4,MoO4), calcium tungstate-molybdate) was later named in Scheele's honor.)
Related category INORGANIC CHEMISTRY
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