The element molybdenum is pronounced "muh-lib-duh-nuhm." The emphasis is on the second syllable, "lib." All the vowel sounds are short "u" sounds, except for the "y," which sounds like a short "i" sound. Molybdenum has the symbol "Mo" on the Periodic Table of Elements, with an atomic number of 42. The substance is a silver-white metallic element that forms alloys with iron to make high-powered cutting tools.
Physical properties of molybdenum include an atomic mass of 95.96 grams per mole, a boiling point of 8,382.2 degrees Fahrenheit, a melting point of 4751.6 degrees Fahrenheit and density of 638 pounds per cubic foot. Three main isotopes of molybdenum exist with atomic masses of 95, 96 and 98.
Molybdenum is used in the manufacture of valves and boiler plates due to the element's high melting point. Molybdenum sulfide is an additive to lubricants. Around 88,000 tons of molybdenum are produced per year as of August 2014. The average human has about 5 grams of molybdenum in the body at one time.
The element was discovered in 1791 by P.J. Helm. The name derives from the Greek word "molybdos," which means "lead." Molybdenum occurs naturally in the mineral molybdenite, but most of the commercially available amounts of the element are by-products of manufacturing copper.