Literature sources indicate that the dust of Cobalt is flammable.
Pyrophoric Cobalt is a reducing agent. Decomposes acetylene in the cold as the metal becomes incandescent [Mellor 14:513(1946-1947]. Incompatible with oxidizing agents such as ammonium nitrate, bromine pentafluoride, and nitryl fluoride.
The metal was isolated by Brandt in 1735 and confirmed as an element by Bergman in 1780. Cobalt is widely distributed in nature, but in small concentrations. Its concentration in the earth’s crust is estimated to be about 0.0025% and in the sea water is about 0.02 µg/L.
Most cobalt found on earth is diffused into the rocks. It also is found in coal and soils, and at trace concentations in animals and plants. It is an essential element for plants and animals (as vitamin B12). Its absence in animals can cause retarded growth, anemia and loss of apetite. The element has been detected in meteorites and in the atmospheres of the sun and other stars.
For alloys; manufacture of cobalt salts; in nuclear technology. Since 60Co can be encapsulated compactly, it has replaced radium in experimental medicine and cancer research. Cobalt is also used in the cobalt bomb, a hydrogen bomb surrounded by a cobalt metal shell. When the nuclear explosion occurs 60Co is formed from 59Co by neutron capture. Considered a "dirty bomb" because of long half-life and intense b- and g radiation. Max permissible concentration of 60Co in air: 10-7mCi/cc, Natl. Bur. Stand. Handb. 69, 31 (1959).
ChEBI: A cobalt group element atom that has atomic number 27.
Air & Water Reactions
Burns brilliantly when exposed to air [Mellor 14:453(1946-1947)]. Insoluble in water.
Cobalt has been in use as a coloring agent for glass since ancient times. The most imporant use of cobalt is in the manufacture of various wearresistant and superalloys. Its alloys have shown high resistance to corrosion and oxidation at high temperatures. They are used in machine components. Also, certain alloys are used in desulfurization and liquefaction of coal and hydrocracking of crude oil shale. Cobalt catalysts are used in many industrial processes. Several cobalt salts have wide commercial applications Cobalt oxide is used in glass to impart pink or blue color. Radioactive cobalt–60 is used in radiography and sterilization of food.
Cobalt is obtained from its ores, which are mostly sulfide, arsenic sulfide or oxide in nature. The finely ground ore is subjected to multistep processing, depending on the chemical nature of the ore.
When the sulfide ore carrollite, CuS•Co2S3, is the starting material, first sulfides are separated by flotation with frothers. Various flotation processes are applied. The products are then treated with dilute sulfuric acid producing a solution known as copper-cobalt concentrate. This solution is then electrolyzed to remove copper. After the removal of copper, the solution is treated with calcium hydroxide to precipitate cobalt as hydroxide. Cobalt hydroxide is filtered out and separated from other impurities. Pure cobalt hydroxide then is dissolved in sulfuric acid and the solution is again electrolyzed. Electrolysis deposits metallic cobalt on the cathode.
Production of cobalt in general is based on various physical and chemical processes that include magnetic separation (for arsenic sufide ores), sulfatizing roasting (for sulfide ores), ammoniacal leaching, catalytic reduction, and electrolysis.
Finely divided cobalt particles can be prepared by reduction of cobalt(II) chloride by lithium naphthalenide in glyme.