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Science Innovation Centre · 027 · Cobalt

This element is no longer available.

Cobalt is a hard ferromagnetic, silver-white, hard, lustrous, brittle element. It is a member of group VIII of the periodic table. Like iron, it can be magnetized. It is similar to iron and nickel in its physical properties. The element is active chemically, forming many compounds. Cobalt is stable in air and unaffected by water, but is slowly attacked by dilute acids.

Cobalt is used in many alloys (superalloys for parts in gas turbine aircraft engines, corrosion resistant alloys, high-speed steels, cemented carbides), in magnets and magnetic recording media, as catalysts for the petroleum and chemical industries, as drying agents for paints and inks. Cobalt blue is an important part of artists’ palette and is used by craft workers in porcelain, pottery, stained glass, tiles and enamel jewellery. The radioactive isotopes, cobalt-60, is used in medical treatment and also to irradiate food, in order to preserve the food and protect the consumer.