A 0.2 molar aqueous solution has a pH of 4.6. Cobalt chloride acts as a weakly acidic inorganic salt, which is soluble in water. The resulting solutions contain moderate concentrations of hydrogen ions and have pH's of less than 7.0. They react as acids to neutralize bases. These neutralizations generate heat, but less or far less than is generated by neutralization of inorganic acids, inorganic oxoacids, and carboxylic acid. They usually do not react as either oxidizing agents or reducing agents but such behavior is not impossible. Many of these compounds catalyze organic reactions. Potassium or sodium metals act to reduce metal halides, producing exothermic reactions, even explosions [Bretherick, 5th Ed., 1995].
blue crystals (anhydrous)
rose red crystals (hexahydrate)
Sinks and mixes with water. Pale blue leaflets, turns pink upon exposure to moist air.
ChEBI: A cobalt salt in which the cobalt metal is in the +2 oxidation state and the counter-anion is chloride. It is used as an indicator for water in desiccants.
Cobalt(II) chloride is prepared by the action of cobalt metal or its oxide, hydroxide, or carbonate with hydrochloric acid:
Co(OH)2 + 2HCl → CoCl2 + 2H2O
The solution on concentration and cooling forms crystals of hexahydrate which on heating with SOCl2 dehydrates to anhydrous cobalt(II) chloride.
Alternatively, the hexahydrate may be converted to anhydrous CoCl2 by dehydration in a stream of hydrogen chloride and dried in vacuum at 100–150°C.
The anhydrous compound also may be obtained by passing chlorine over cobalt powder.
Inhalation causes respiratory disease, shortness of breath, and coughing; permanent disability may occur. Ingestion causes pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Contact causes irritation of eyes and may cause skin rash.
A saturated aqueous solution at room temperature is fractionally crystallised by standing overnight. The first half of the material that crystallises in this way is used in the next crystallisation. The process is repeated several times, water being removed in a dry-box using air filtered through glass wool and dried over CaCl2 [Hutchinson J Am Chem Soc 76 1022 1954]. It has also been crystallised from dilute aqueous HCl. The hexahydrate m 86o forms pink to red deliquescent crystals. It loses 4H2O on heating at 52-56o and forms the violet dihydrate which loses a further H2O at 100o to form the violet monohydrate which loses the last H2O at 120-140o to give the pale blue anhydrous deliquescent salt m 735o and b 1049o. A pink solution of CoCl2 in H2O becomes blue on heating to 50o or adding conc HCl which may precipitate the mono or dihydrate. The solid dihydrate gives a blue-purple solution with EtOH. Note: CoCl2 in H2O is a “sympathetic ink”, i.e. writing using an aqueous solution is almost invisible on paper, but becomes blue on warming the paper. On cooling or standing, the writing becomes invisible again. The anhydrous salt is soluble in H2O, EtOH, Et2O, Me2CO and pyridine. [Glemser in Handbook of Preparative Inorganic Chemistry (Ed. Brauer) Academic Press Vol II p 1515 1965.]
Special Hazards of Combustion Products: Toxic cobalt oxide fumes may form in fire.
Air & Water Reactions
Hygroscopic. Soluble in water.
Cobalt(II) chloride has several applications. It is used in hygrometers; as a
humidity indicator; as a temperature indicator in grinding; as a foam stabilizer in beer; in invisible ink; for painting on glass; in electroplating; and a catalyst in Grignard reactions, promoting coupling with an organic halide. It also is used to prepare several other cobalt salts; and in the manufacture of synthetic vitamin B12.
The vapor-phase co-reductions with other metal halides by hydrogen results in finely divided intermetallics with applications as structural materials or compounds with useful thermoelectric, magnetic, and oxidation-resistance properties.