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molybdenum silicide (MoSi2) is a metal-to-metal compound with the composition of Mo-Si. It is gray metallic in color, has a high melting point up to 2030 degC and excellent electrical conductivity. It is insoluble in most mineral acids, but soluble in the mixed acid of nitric and hydrofluoric. The compound has good high temperature oxidation resistance.
It is used in electric furnaces, glass, steel and electronics industries. It also finds use as a dry lubricant.
Among the metallic transition metal silicides, molybdenum is the most common because it is easily produced by a solid-state reaction on silicon. Compared with the other metallic silicides, this material is less expensive to produce and it is stable at high temperatures.
Due to its stability, oxidation resistance and high conductivity, molybdenum silicide has many applications as a component for electric furnaces. It is also widely used in the manufacture of resistance heating elements because it combines the characteristics of metal and ceramic.
The performance of MoSi2 is superior to that of other metallic electrothermal materials such as nickel-chromium and iron-aluminum alloys, but it is lower than that of non-metallic components such as silicon carbide and zirconia. It is particularly well suited for applications in oxidizing atmospheres such as carburizing and reducing, and it has good corrosion and wear resistance.
However, when MoSi2 is used in a furnace with nitrogen gas, the silicon in the compound reacts with it to form silicon nitride which causes scaling of the element. This problem can be avoided by pre-heating the MoSi2 with gallium infrared ion beam.