A superior, low-cost catalyst for water-splitting

In a significant step toward large-scale hydrogen production, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a low-cost catalyst that can speed up the splitting of water to produce hydrogen gas.

Transforming waste heat into clean energy

Do you feel the warmth coming off your computer or cell phone? That's wasted energy radiating from the device. With automobiles, it is estimated that 60% of fuel efficiency is lost due to waste heat. Is it possible to capture ...

Electric vehicles as an example of a market failure

Electric vehicle revolution is well under way. Norway ambitiously heads toward having all new cars sold as zero-emission by 2025. China continues to be one of the major drivers of EV boom. The US market experiences strong ...

Strength in numbers for 3-D printing

Additive manufacturing, also called 3-D printing, is commonly used to build complex three-dimensional objects, layer by layer. A*STAR researchers have shown that the process can also help to make a high-performance alloy ...

New catalysts for better fuel cells

Researchers at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST) have developed nano-catalysts that can reduce the overall cost of clean energy fuel cells, according to a study published in the journal of Applied ...

Powerful X-ray beams unlock secrets of nanoscale crystal formation

High-energy X-ray beams and a clever experimental setup allowed researchers to watch a high-pressure, high-temperature chemical reaction to determine for the first time what controls formation of two different nanoscale crystalline ...

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Cobalt

Cobalt ( /ˈkoʊbɒlt/ or /ˈkoʊbɔːlt/) is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal.

Cobalt-based blue pigments have been used since ancient times for jewelry and paints, and to impart a distinctive blue tint to glass, but the color was later thought by alchemists to be due to the known metal bismuth. Miners had long used the name kobold ore (German for goblin ore) for some of the blue-pigment producing minerals; they were named because they were poor in known metals and gave poisonous arsenic-containing fumes upon smelting. In 1735, such ores were found to be reducible to a new metal (the first discovered since ancient times), and this was ultimately named for the kobold.

Nowadays, some cobalt is produced specifically from various metallic-lustered ores, for example cobaltite (CoAsS), but the main source of the element is as a by-product of copper and nickel mining. The copper belt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia yields most of the cobalt metal mined worldwide.

Cobalt is used in the preparation of magnetic, wear-resistant and high-strength alloys. Cobalt silicate and cobalt(II) aluminate (CoAl2O4, cobalt blue) give a distinctive deep blue color to glass, smalt, ceramics, inks, paints and varnishes. Cobalt occurs naturally as only one stable isotope, cobalt-59. Cobalt-60 is a commercially important radioisotope, used as a radioactive tracer and in the production of gamma rays.

Cobalt is the active center of coenzymes called cobalamin or vitamin B12, and is an essential trace element for all animals. Cobalt is also an active nutrient for bacteria, algae and fungi.

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