Electrochemical Reduction of Molybdenium Compounds to Form Molybdenium Powder

Wednesday, 31 May 2017: 16:20
Marlborough A (Hilton New Orleans Riverside)
B. Akpinar (Middle East Technical University), M. Erdogan (Yildirim Beyazit University), and I. Karakaya (Middle East Technical University)
Molybdenum (Mo) is a refractory metal and mostly used as an alloying agent in cast iron, steels and superalloys to enhance hardenability, strength, toughness and corrosion resistance. It also finds other uses either in the form of a pure metal or an element in, for example, lubricants and catalysts. Traditional metal production methods are not suitable for molybdenum because pure molybdenum has very high melting point and has a tendency to get oxidized at low temperatures. Hydrogen reduction of molybdenum oxide is a very common way for Mo production but, it has two stages during process. At the second stage, the reduction process needs very high temperatures, therefore, high energy consumption and special equipment requirement is essential.

FFC Cambridge process [1] based on electrochemical reduction of solid compounds was considered as an alternative way to produce molybdenum at relatively low temperatures. Similar to reduction of WO3 [2], loss of molybdenum as molybdenum oxychloride from MoO3 in CaCl2 containing molten salts is inevitable [3]. MoS2 powder pressed and sintered at 400oC to form pellets were used as starting material for electrochemical formation of pure Mo in molten CaCl2-NaCl salt mixture under argon gas at 800oC. A constant voltage in the range 1 to 3.0V was applied between MoS2 cathode and graphite anode. When the process was terminated at a prescribed time, the cathode was removed from the molten salt, cooled in argon, washed with water in air to dissolve the solidified salt, and then dried at about 100oC in vacuum before further analysis employing XRD, SEM and EDS.

[1] G.Z. Chen, D. J. Fray, T. W. Farthing, Direct Electrochemical Reduction of Titanium Dioxide to Titanium in Molten Calcium Chloride, Nature, 407 (2000), 361-364.

[2] M. Erdoğan, İ. Karakaya, Electrochemical Reduction of Tungsten Compounds to Produce Tungsten Powder, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B, 41B (2010), 798-804.

[3] W.T. Thompson, C.W. Bale, and A.D. Pelton: Facility for the Analysis of Chemical Thermodynamics (FACT), McGill University Montreal, Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, E´cole Polytechnique, Montreal, Canada, 1985.