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Molybdenum Alloys

TZM is an acronym for titanium-zirconium-molybdenum and is typically manufactured through powder metallurgy or arc melting processes.


It is an alloy that possesses a higher recrystallization temperature, greater creep resistance and tensile strength than pure unalloyed molybdenum. It also exhibits higher abrasion resistance than beryllium copper and improved thermal conductivity. Available in different forms, it is commonly used for hardware in vacuum furnaces, large X-ray equipment, and tooling.


While incredibly versatile, TZM is best utilized between 700 and 1400 °C in a non-oxidizing environment. The finer grain structure of TZM results in a higher quality product, improving its welding properties. It is also used for the manufacturing of tips for hot runner systems and in applications that require high-temperature strength. TZM costs about 25% more than pure molybdenum. For applications that demand high strength and operate at elevated temperatures, the cost-effectiveness of this product is unparalleled.


Approximately 86% of molybdenum produced is used in metallurgy, with the remaining being utilized in chemical applications.


The estimated global usage is as follows: structural steel 35%, stainless steel 25%, chemicals 14%, tool and high-speed steels 9%, cast iron 6%, elemental molybdenum 6%, and superalloys 5%.


Molybdenum can withstand extreme temperatures without significant expansion or softening, making it useful in high-heat environments, including military shielding, aircraft parts, electrical contacts, industrial motors, and lamp filament supports.


Most high-strength steel alloys (e.g., 41xx steels) contain 0.25% to 8% molybdenum. Even in these small amounts, over 43,000 tons of molybdenum are used each year in stainless steels, tool steels, cast irons, and high-temperature superalloys.


Molybdenum is also valued in steel alloys for its high corrosion resistance and weldability.


Molybdenum contributes to the corrosion resistance of type 300 stainless steels (specifically type 316) and particularly to the so-called superaustenitic stainless steels (such as AL-6XN, 254SMO, and 1925hMo).


Molybdenum increases network voltage, thereby increasing the energy required to dissolve iron atoms from the surface. Molybdenum is also used to enhance the corrosion resistance of ferritic stainless steels (e.g., grade 444) and martensitic stainless steels (e.g., 1.4122 and 1.4418).


Due to its lower density and more stable price, molybdenum is sometimes used as a substitute for tungsten. An example is the 'M' series of high-speed steels, such as M2, M4, and M42, replacing the 'T' series, which contains tungsten.


Molybdenum can also be used as a fire-resistant coating for other metals. While its melting point is 2,623 °C (4,753 °F), molybdenum rapidly oxidizes at temperatures above 760 °C (1,400 °F), making it more suitable for use in vacuum environments.


TZM (Mo (~99%), Ti (~0.5%), Zr (~0.08%), and some C) is a corrosion-resistant molybdenum superalloy that withstands molten fluoride salts at temperatures above 1,300 °C (2,370 °F). 

Other iron-free molybdenum-based alloys have only limited applications. For example, due to its resistance to molten zinc, both pure molybdenum and molybdenum-tungsten (70%/30%) alloys are used for pipes, agitators, and pump impellers that come into contact with molten zinc.


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