We know that Mo (Molybdenum ) is used as a catalyst for Haber's process, during synthesis of Ammonia from Nitrogen. Again, in biological systems, Nitrogen fixation (ALSO forming Ammonia from Nitrogen) uses Mo as activator of Nitrogenase enzyme. My question is "why Mo is so special for Nitrogen?"

  • $\begingroup$ Helpful: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2999624 $\endgroup$ – user79161 Apr 27 '19 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ Two processes running at very different temperatures and pressures. I'd wager this is coincidence. $\endgroup$ – Karl Apr 27 '19 at 23:24

Why Molybdenum is Used in the Manufacture of Ammonia?

Molybdenum tubing has particularly good resistance to corrosion by mineral acids, provided oxidizing agents are not present. It is also resistant to many liquid metals and to most molten glasses. Molybdenum is relatively inert in hydrogen, ammonia, and nitrogen up to about 1100 C, but a superficial nitride case may be formed in ammonia or nitrogen.(Ref. 1)

Also, molybdenum has a special capability to form stable complexes with nitrogen atoms and hence molybdenum goes very well in biological reactions as well(See the link @user79161 has posted in the comment section). Recently, a group of scientists has developed a method for synthesis of ammonia using a dinitrogen-bridged dimolybdenum complex as catalyst and under very mild conditions of room temperature and at atmospheric pressure. However, the reaction mechanism of this new method is still unclear.

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  1. https://samaterials.podbean.com/e/why-molybdenum-is-used-in-the-manufacture-of-ammonia/
  2. https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/focus/en/articles/a_00259.html (Picture)
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