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<---Iron       Nickel--->

Elements for Kids

Cobalt

The element cobalt

<---Iron       Nickel--->
  • Symbol: Co
  • Atomic Number: 27
  • Atomic Weight: 58.933
  • Classification: Transition metal
  • Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
  • Density: 8.9 grams per cm cubed
  • Melting Point: 1495°C, 2723°F
  • Boiling Point: 2927°C, 5301°F
  • Discovered by: George Brandt in 1735


Cobalt is the first element in the ninth column of the periodic table. It is classified as a transition metal. Cobalt atoms have 27 electrons and 27 protons with 32 neutrons in the most abundant isotope.

Characteristics and Properties

Under standard conditions cobalt is a hard, brittle metal with a bluish-white color. It is one of the few elements that is naturally magnetic. It can be easily magnetized and maintains its magnetism at high temperatures.

Cobalt is only somewhat reactive. It reacts slowly with oxygen from the air. It forms many compounds with other elements such as cobalt(II) oxide, cobalt(II) fluoride, and cobalt sulfide.

Where is cobalt found on Earth?

Cobalt is not found as a free element, but is found in minerals in the Earth's crust. Cobalt ores include erythrite, cobaltite, skutterudite, and glaucodot. The majority of cobalt is mined in Africa and is a byproduct of the mining of other metals including nickel, copper, silver, lead, and iron.

How is cobalt used today?

Most of the cobalt that is mined is used in superalloys which are very resistant to corrosion and are stable at high temperatures.

Cobalt is also used as a blue coloring agent in paints, inks, glass, ceramics, and even cosmetics.

Other applications for cobalt include batteries, industrial catalysts, electroplating, and powerful magnets.

How was it discovered?

Cobalt was discovered by Swedish chemist George Brandt in 1735. He isolated the element and proved that it was the source of the color in blue glass which previously was thought to be from bismuth.

Cobalt compounds were used throughout ancient history by civilizations such as Ancient China and Rome to make blue glass and ceramics.

Cobalt is also important for animal life. The body uses it to create certain enzymes. It is also a component of the vitamin B12.

Where did cobalt get its name?

Cobalt gets its name from the German word "kobalt" which means "goblin." Miners gave cobalt ore this name as they were superstitious about mining the ore.

Isotopes

Cobalt only has one stable isotope that is found in nature: cobalt-59.

Oxidation States

Cobalt exists with oxidations states ranging from -3 to +4. The most common oxidation states are +2 and +3.

Interesting Facts about Cobalt

More on the Elements and the Periodic Table

Elements
Periodic Table

Alkali Metals
Lithium
Sodium
Potassium

Alkaline Earth Metals
Beryllium
Magnesium
Calcium
Radium

Transition Metals
Scandium
Titanium
Vanadium
Chromium
Manganese
Iron
Cobalt
Nickel
Copper
Zinc
Silver
Platinum
Gold
Mercury
Post-transition Metals
Aluminum
Gallium
Tin
Lead

Metalloids
Boron
Silicon
Germanium
Arsenic

Nonmetals
Hydrogen
Carbon
Nitrogen
Oxygen
Phosphorus
Sulfur
Halogens
Fluorine
Chlorine
Iodine

Noble Gases
Helium
Neon
Argon

Lanthanides and Actinides
Uranium
Plutonium

More Chemistry Subjects

Matter
Atom
Molecules
Isotopes
Solids, Liquids, Gases
Melting and Boiling
Chemical Bonding
Chemical Reactions
Radioactivity and Radiation
Mixtures and Compounds
Naming Compounds
Mixtures
Separating Mixtures
Solutions
Acids and Bases
Crystals
Metals
Salts and Soaps
Water
Other
Glossary and Terms
Chemistry Lab Equipment
Organic Chemistry
Famous Chemists


Science >> Chemistry for Kids >> Periodic Table





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