cobalt


cobalt

Metallic chemical element, one of the transition elements, chemical symbol Co, atomic number 27. Widely dispersed in small amounts in many minerals and ores, this magnetic, silvery white metal with a faint bluish tinge is used mostly for special alloys (e.g., alnico, tool steel) with exacting applications. At valence 2 or 3 it forms numerous coordination complexes. One is vitamin B (cyanocobalamin; see vitamin B complex). Cobalt and its compounds are used in electroplating and colouring ceramics and glass and as lamp filaments, catalysts, a trace element in fertilizers, and paint and varnish driers. The pigment cobalt blue has a variable composition, roughly that of cobalt oxide plus alumina. A radioactive isotope of cobalt emits penetrating gamma rays that are used in radiation therapy.

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