Post by Trade Forum on Mar 25, 2023 13:09:09 GMT 1
Cobalt: A Hot Commodity Of The Future - Cobalt Is Critical To Our Renewable Energy Transition
- What do electric vehicles, smartphones, rechargeable batteries, wind turbines and jet engines all have in common? They all contain cobalt.
Five astonishing facts about Cobalt – This great mineral of the future!
Cobalt is a chemical element with the symbol Co and atomic number 27. As with nickel, cobalt is found in the Earth's crust only in chemically combined form, save for small deposits found in alloys of natural meteoric iron. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous silver metal. Wikipedia
Properties Of Cobalt:
Atomic number: 27
Atomic mass: 58.933195 u
Electron configuration: [Ar] 3d⁷4s²
Melting point: 1,495 °C
CAS ID: 7440-48-4
Van der Waals radius: 200 pm
Cobalt (Co) is a metal used in numerous diverse commercial, industrial, and military applications, many of which are strategic and critical. On a global basis, the leading use of cobalt is in rechargeable battery electrodes. Super alloys, which are used to make parts for gas turbine engines, are another major use for cobalt.
Cobalt is also used to make airbags in automobiles; catalysts for the petroleum and chemical industries; cemented carbides (also called hardmetals) and diamond tools; corrosion- and wear-resistant alloys; drying agents for paints, varnishes, and inks; dyes and pigments; ground coats for porcelain enamels; high-speed steels; magnetic recording media; magnets; and steel-belted radial tires.
Cobalt(II) oxide with aluminum(III) oxide at 1200 °C. Chemically, the cobalt blue pigment is cobalt (II) oxide-aluminium oxide, or cobalt (II) aluminate, CoAl₂O₄. Cobalt blue is lighter and less intense than the pigment Prussian blue. Wikipedia
Origin Of Cobalt Blue:
The first recorded use of cobalt blue as a color name in English was in 1777. It was independently discovered as a pure alumina-based pigment by Louis Jacques Thénard in 1802. Commercial production of the metal began in France in 1807.
What Is Special About Cobalt Blue?
Cobalt blue is lighter and less intense than the (iron-cyanide-based) pigment Prussian blue. It is extremely stable and historically has been used as a coloring agent in ceramics (especially Chinese porcelain), jewelry, and paint. Transparent glasses are tinted with the silica-based cobalt pigment smalt.
Five Astonishing Facts About Cobalt:
Cobalt is a versatile trace element used across the industrial, medical, automotive, renewable energy, agricultural, aeronautical and military sectors. Pegged as a commodity of the future, cobalt is critical to our renewable energy transition – primarily for its role in rechargeable batteries – with global demand forecast to increase six fold by 2050. How much do you know about this hot commodity?
Here we are revealing to you five fascinating facts about this metal that may surprise you.
1. Cobalt is named after mythical, death-dealing goblins:
Back in the early days, mining could be an extremely dangerous business – especially without our current understanding of toxic metals and minerals. Way before its official discovery in 1739 by Swedish chemist Georg Brandt, cobalt in Ore form had been wreaking havoc on miners.
When mine workers attempted to melt certain ores to extract copper, nickel, or cobalt, the fumes from the smelting process caused illness or even death.
Superstitious miners blamed the mysterious deaths on ‘kobolds’ – the German word for goblins (a mysterious ugly creature). Even though the toxic fumes were later discovered to be caused by arsenic also found in the ore, the name stuck.
2. Cobalt dye has been used for at least 2,600 years.
Long before cobalt was prized for its use in renewable energy technology; it was sought after as an important blue dye. Cobalt is a burnished silver colour in its raw state but produces a vibrant blue pigment when heated and combined with aluminium silicates.
Cobalt weaves a beautiful blue trail through many ancient civilizations: it has been found in ancient Roman and Persian jewelry, Egyptian sculptures, artifacts from the ruins of Pompeii and ceramics from China’s Ming and Tang Dynasties. The oldest cobalt-coloured glass was discovered in Egypt and dated circa 1550 to 1292 BCE.
3. Cobalt can treat cancer…but it also kills.
Cobalt plays an essential role in human health, but too little or too much cobalt in the body can cause major health issues. Cobalt comprises the metal centre of vitamin B12, which humans need for healthy blood cell formation and neurological health.
We ingest cobalt through healthy food sources such as fish, nuts, green leafy vegetables and cereals.
Cobalt is also used to treat cancer and create alloys for prosthetic hip and knee replacements. However, despite all its health-boosting and medical uses, cobalt can be toxic to humans in large quantities.
Cobalt poisoning can lead to cardiomyopathy, deafness, nerve damage, tinnitus, thyroid issues, vision problems, and in extreme cases, death.
4. Cobalt used to be a beer additive – with disastrous effects.
In the quest for a perfect beer head, breweries in the mid-20th century began adding cobalt sulfate to beer to stabilize the foam. This practice conveniently mitigated the impacts of poorly rinsed glasses (the leftover detergent caused foam dissipation).
However, a study conducted in 1965 in Nebraska and Quebec detected unusually high levels of cardiomyopathy in beer drinkers. Further research confirmed that heavy beer drinkers at breweries using this practice were in fact overdosing on cobalt, and at risk of heart failure.
The use of cobalt in beer was thankfully discontinued after this discovery – and one can only assume that beer glasses are rinsed properly these days!
5. Cobalt is key to cutting edge technology and a greener future:
What do electric vehicles, smartphones, rechargeable batteries, wind turbines and jet engines all have in common? They all contain cobalt. Further modern-day uses of cobalt include dental drills and instruments; stock feed nutrients, racehorse nutrition, fertilizers and medical tracers.
As the world scrambles to transition to green energy, cobalt will only grow in importance – in particular for the role it plays in rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles. Despite the dark origins of its name, it’s safe to say cobalt has become a force for good on our planet, aiding our journey to a cleaner, greener future.
Largest Producer of Cobalt in the world:
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the largest producer of Cobalt, accounting for about 70% of the world’s production. Its reported output in 2022 was 130,000 metric tonnes.
Cobalt is also found in Wudil, Kano state of Nigeria.
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