Cobalt metal applications

Nov 12


David Yvon

David Yvon

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There are five isotopes of cobalt, except for the widely existing cobalt 58, also have cobalt 56, cobalt 57, cobalt 59 and cobalt 60.


The content of these four isotopes in nature is extremely small,Cobalt metal applications Articles cannot be through the method of metallurgical mineral to extract, only can be artificially produced by high-energy physics methods (neutron bombard metallic cobalt). Of which, cobalt 60 has strong radioactivity, can be applied to the object's internal control measure (such as equipment testing), health care (such as the chemotherapy of cancer) and tracer substances. Another three kinds of isotopes, cobalt 56, cobalt 57, cobalt 59 has weak radioactivity, there are no reports about its practical purpose. The widely existing cobalt 58 is not radioactivity, so the cobalt products in cobalt processing plant are no radioactivity.


The application area of cobalt is very broad due to its irreplaceable physical and chemical properties. Including rechargeable battery materials, metal powder, superhard heat-resisting cemented carbide, petrochemical catalysts, ceramic color glaze, magnetic materials, feed additives, pharmaceuticals and other industries. Although cobalt is small metal, but cobalt products have been extensively used in our daily lives. For example: our daily lithium-ion batteries used in mobile phones has 5-10 grams of cobalt (Lithium ion batteries are invented in Japan in 1990, and at the beginning of this century poured into commercial production, the cobalt consumption of the current lithium-ion batteries was accounted for nearly 40% of the global consumption, which is the first major uses of cobalt.). The body also contains trace amounts of cobalt, if lack of cobalt element, the body will get sick, the general performance is anemia. The well-known vitamin B12 also contains cobalt.


In addition to the cobalt that people can be used in daily life, the cobalt in the industrial sector also has an important purpose. Cobalt powder is mainly used for preparing alloys. Cobalt-based alloy is made of cobalt and one or more of the group of chromium, tungsten, iron, nickel. Cobalt has superior magnetic properties, had been widely used in magnetic materials manufacturing, for example: speakers. Cobalt is also used as a catalyst in the petrochemical industry, as a binder used in the rubber tire industry.


The cobalt consumption of cemented carbide and super cemented carbide has been the first major uses of cobalt before the invention of lithium-ion batteries, now is the second largest use, accounting for about 20% of cobalt consumption. Tool steel which contains a certain amount of cobalt can be remarkably improved steel's wear resistance and machinability, the alloy composition of the remaining cobalt metal carbide grains together, cobalt combined with other metal carbide grains in the alloy composition, the alloy has a higher toughness and reduce sensitivity to impact, this alloy welding in the part surface, can increase 3-7 times of the parts life. Stellite cemented carbide which contain more than 50% of cobalt does not lose its original hardness even if heated to 1000; when the temperature at 1038 or more, the superiority of cobalt-based alloys were revealed, particularly suitable for manufacturing high efficiency heat engine, so the cobalt-based alloy has the most widely applications in the aerospace technology. In aviation turbine engine structural material using 20% -27% of chromium-containing cobalt alloy, can make the material having high oxidation resistance without protective coatings.


In summary, although the cobalt is small metal, but its wide range of uses cannot be discounted. Especially in the field of aerospace and other military project, it plays an irreplaceable role, so the United States, Japan, Russia and other countries are used cobalt as an important strategic reserve material, China in recent years has begun to set up their own cobalt reserves. With the cobalt widely applied in the lithium-ion batteries, its special strategic position will be more prominent.


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