Molybdenum (atomic wt. 95.95) is in the second row of the transition metal elements and occurs as five isotopes. It is in Group VI-B with Cr and W and shares some chemical properties with each of these elements. It has a density of 10.2, melting point of 2,620 ± 10°C, and boiling point of 4,800°C. Molybdenum has five possible oxidation states (II, III, IV, V, and VI), but in nature, the IV and VI oxidation states predominate, with the latter being the most stable (Krauskopf, 1972). The most important compound is the trioxide (MoO3), from which most of the known Mo compounds can be prepared. Molybdenum is resistant to HC1, H2SO4, H3PO4, and HF solutions under many conditions of concentration and temperature. However, the metal is attacked by oxidizing acids and fused alkalis. It is rapidly oxidized in air at >500°C (Shamberger, 1979). At moderate to high concentrations in solution, molybdate readily polymerizes into polymolybdates with a wide variety of very complex structures. However, in dilute solutions, such as those found in soils or in most natural waters, the predominant form of soluble Mo is the molybdate anion, Mo0 4 2− . Only under unusual conditions of very high enrichment will Mo be found as soluble polymolybdate in waters. In nature the only important ore is molybdenite (MoS2); however, some powellite and deposits containing wulfenite also occur.


Molybdenum Disulfide Plant Soil Molybdenum Concentration Proc Inti Conf Molybdate Anion 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. C. Adriano
    • 1
  1. 1.Biogeochemical Ecology Division, Savannah River Ecology LaboratoryUniversity of Georgia Institute of EcologyAikenUSA

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