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Molybdenum Carbonyl, Mo(CO)6

Molybdenum Carbonyl, Mo(CO)6, is formed when the finely divided metal is subjected to the action of carbon monoxide at a pressure of 200 to 250 atmospheres and at a temperature of 200° C. The metallic molybdenum must be in a sufficiently active form, and is best prepared by reducing an oxychloride by means of hydrogen at a low temperature; obtained in this way, it is just pyrophoric when gently warmed. The carbonyl forms highly refractive white crystals, of density 1.96 at 15° C. The crystals volatilise before melting, and can be sublimed in an atmosphere of hydrogen or carbon monoxide at a temperature of 30° or 40° C. The vapours decompose into molybdenum and carbon monoxide on heating above 150° C. Its chemical properties resemble those of other carbonyls. It is readily attacked by oxidising agents, especially bromine, which liberates carbon monoxide and retains molybdic acid in suspension.

A reinvestigation of the composition of the carbonyl has shown that it is more exactly represented by the formula Mo5(CO)26. The substance is only slightly soluble in benzene, alcohol, and other common solvents, so that cryoscopic determinations of its molecular weight could not be made.
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