25 Facts About Cobalt


Cobalt is a chemical element with the symbol Co and atomic number 27.

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Cobalt-based blue pigments have been used since ancient times for jewelry and paints, and to impart a distinctive blue tint to glass, but the color was for a long time thought to be due to the known metal bismuth.

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Cobalt is primarily used in lithium-ion batteries, and in the manufacture of magnetic, wear-resistant and high-strength alloys.

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Cobalt-60 is a commercially important radioisotope, used as a radioactive tracer and for the production of high-energy gamma rays.

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Cobalt is the active center of a group of coenzymes called cobalamins.

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Cobalt in inorganic form is a micronutrient for bacteria, algae, and fungi.

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Cobalt is a ferromagnetic metal with a specific gravity of 8.

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Cobalt is a weakly reducing metal that is protected from oxidation by a passivating oxide film.

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Cobalt oxides are antiferromagnetic at low temperature: CoO and Co3O4, which is analogous to magnetite, with a mixture of +2 and +3 oxidation states.

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Cobalt carbonyl is a catalyst in carbonylation and hydrosilylation reactions.

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Cobalt compounds have been used for centuries to impart a rich blue color to glass, glazes, and ceramics.

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Cobalt has been detected in Egyptian sculpture, Persian jewelry from the third millennium BC, in the ruins of Pompeii, destroyed in 79 AD, and in China, dating from the Tang dynasty and the Ming dynasty .

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Cobalt became the first metal to be discovered since the pre-historical period.

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Cobalt is a trace metal involved in photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation detected in most ocean basins and is a limiting micronutrient for phytoplankton and cyanobacteria.

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Cobalt is considered toxic for marine environments at high concentrations.

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Cobalt is ranked as a critical mineral by the United States, Japan, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

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Cobalt extracted from small Congolese artisanal mining endeavors in 2007 supplied a single Chinese company, Congo DongFang International Mining.

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Cobalt has been used in the production of high-performance alloys.

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Cobalt-based superalloys have historically consumed most of the cobalt produced.

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Cobalt-based alloys are corrosion- and wear-resistant, making them, like titanium, useful for making orthopedic implants that don't wear down over time.

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Cobalt acetate is used to convert xylene to terephthalic acid, the precursor of the bulk polymer polyethylene terephthalate.

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Cobalt is a catalyst in the Fischer–Tropsch process for the hydrogenation of carbon monoxide into liquid fuels.

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Cobalt-60 is useful as a gamma-ray source because it can be produced in predictable amounts with high activity by bombarding cobalt with neutrons.

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Cobalt-57 is a cobalt radioisotope most often used in medical tests, as a radiolabel for vitamin B12 uptake, and for the Schilling test.

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Cobalt-57 is used as a source in Mossbauer spectroscopy and is one of several possible sources in X-ray fluorescence devices.

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