Facts about cobalt

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1. Cobalt was discovered by a Swedish Chemist
Cobalt was discovered in the 1730s by Swedish chemist, George Brandt. This happened years before the scientific community discussed and accepted that this metal existed. Until the 1700s, the pigments created from cobalt were called smalt or safflor, and were thought to be formed of bismuth, copper, iron, and arsenic.

2. The name Cobalt is derived from German Language
The word cobalt comes from the German word for goblin, “kobold.” Medieval miners deemed this element troublesome because its ore released toxic vapors when smelted. Miners gave cobalt ore this name they had some superstitions about mining the ore.

3. Cobalt decorated Chinese pottery
Cobalt salts served as ornaments that decorated ancient Chinese pottery with brilliant blue designs. Other ancient civilizations discovered the artistic potential of cobalt without knowing what metal they were using. Other uses of Cobalt include the use as a blue coloring agent in paints, inks, glass, ceramics, and even cosmetics.

4. Cobalt has nutritional value
Cobalt is an important trace nutrient for health. It makes up the backbone of vitamin B12; that is key to blood formation and the functioning of the nervous system. Cobalt is also essential for animal life. The body utilizes it to create certain enzymes. Too much or too little cobalt in the body can cause health issues. However, Cobalt and its compounds are considered to be slightly toxic by skin contact and moderately toxic by ingestion.

5. Cobalt has equal number of electrons and protons
The melting point of cobalt metal is 1,493°C (2,719°F), and the boiling point is about 3,100°C (5,600°F). The density is 8.9 grams per cubic centimeter. Approximately 30 percent of cobalt produced yearly goes to the ceramic and paint industries, as stated by Nature Chemistry. Cobalt maintains its magnetism at temperatures up to 2049.8 F (1,121 C). Cobalt atoms have 27 electrons and 27 protons with 32 neutrons in the most abundant isotope.

6. Cobalt is a natural magnet
Under normal conditions, Cobalt is a hard, brittle metal with a bluish-white color. Cobalt is one of the few elements that are naturally magnetic. As a metal that is easily magnetized, Cobalt retains its magnetism at high temperatures.

7. First metal discovered
Cobalt was the first metal to be discovered since prehistoric times and the first metal with a recorded discoverer. Cobalt is among the three metals whose magnetism is known to occur naturally. The other two metals that have naturally occurring magnetism are iron and nickel.

8. Cobalt is used to treat cancer
Cobalt 60 is a radio isotope that is used to make gamma rays that are essential for treating cancer and sterilizing medical supplies. Cobalt 60 is the most stable cobalt radio isotope that has a half-life of more than 5.2 years.

9. Cobalt has one stable isotope
Cobalt metal only has a single stable isotope found in nature that is known as cobalt 59. Cobalt subsists in an oxidation state that ranges from -3 to +4. The most frequent oxidation states are +2 and +3. Cobalt is only somewhat reactive. It is known to react steadily with oxygen from the air. Cobalt creates many compounds with other elements such as cobalt (II) oxide, cobalt (II) fluoride, and cobalt sulfide.

10. Cobalt is used in Super Alloys
The use of most of the cobalt mined is in super alloys that tend to remain highly unaffected by corrosion. These alloys also remain stable at high temperatures. Other applications for cobalt are in batteries, industrial catalysts, electroplating, as well in development of magnets that are extremely powerful.

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