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Chromium and Molybdenum – Comparison – Properties

This article contains comparison of key thermal and atomic properties of chromium and molybdenum, two comparable chemical elements from the periodic table. It also contains basic descriptions and applications of both elements. Chromium vs Molybdenum.

chromium and molybdenum - comparison

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Chromium - Properties - Price - Applications - Production

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Chromium and Molybdenum – About Elements


Chromium is a steely-grey, lustrous, hard and brittle metal which takes a high polish, resists tarnishing, and has a high melting point. A major development was the discovery that steel could be made highly resistant to corrosion and discoloration by adding metallic chromium to form stainless steel.


Molybdenum 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 used in steel alloys, including high-strength alloys and superalloys.

Chromium in Periodic Table

Molybdenum in Periodic Table

Source: www.luciteria.com

Chromium and Molybdenum – Applications


Chromium is one of the most important and indispensable industrial metals because of its hardness and resistance to corrosion. But it is used for more than the production of stainless steel and nonferrous alloys; it is also used to create pigments and chemicals used to process leather. In metallurgy, Chromium increases hardness, strength, and corrosion resistance. The strengthening effect of forming stable metal carbides at the grain boundaries and the strong increase in corrosion resistance made chromium an important alloying material for steel. Generally speaking, the concentration specified for most grades is approximately 4%. This level appears to result in the best balance between hardness and toughness. Chromium plays an important role in the hardening mechanism and is considered irreplaceable. At higher temperatures, chromium contributes increased strength. It is ordinarily used for applications of this nature in conjunction with molybdenum. The resistance of stainless steels is based on passivation. For passivation to occur and remain stable, the Fe-Cr alloy must have a minimum chromium content of about 11% by weight, above which passivity can occur and below which it is impossible.


About 86% of molybdenum produced is used in metallurgy, with the rest used in chemical applications. The estimated global use is structural steel 35%, stainless steel 25%, chemicals 14%, tool & high-speed steels 9%, cast iron 6%, molybdenum elemental metal 6%, and superalloys 5%. Molybdenum (about 0.50-8.00%) when added to a tool steel makes it more resistant to high temperature. Molybdenum increases hardenability and strength, particularly at high temperatures due to the high melting point of molybdenum. Molybdenum is unique in the extent to which it increases the high-temperature tensile and creep strengths of steel. Molybdenum anodes replace tungsten in certain low voltage X-ray sources for specialized uses such as mammography. The radioactive isotope molybdenum-99 is used to generate technetium-99m, used for medical imaging. The isotope is handled and stored as the molybdate.

Chromium and Molybdenum – Comparison in Table

Element Chromium Molybdenum
Density 7.14 g/cm3 10.28 g/cm3
Ultimate Tensile Strength 550 MPa 324 MPa
Yield Strength 131 MPa N/A
Young’s Modulus of Elasticity 279 GPa 329 GPa
Mohs Scale 8.5 5.5
Brinell Hardness 1120 MPa 1500 MPa
Vickers Hardness 1060 MPa 1530 MPa
Melting Point 1907 °C 2623 °C
Boiling Point 2671 °C 4639 °C
Thermal Conductivity 93.7 W/mK 138 W/mK
Thermal Expansion Coefficient 4.9 µm/mK 4.8 µm/mK
Specific Heat 0.45 J/g K 0.25 J/g K
Heat of Fusion 16.9 kJ/mol 32 kJ/mol
Heat of Vaporization 344.3 kJ/mol 598 kJ/mol