Cobalt Element number 27 Co

Sputtering target of pure 99.99 Cobalt , Sputtering targets are a popular way to display samples. 

 Cobalt is a somewhat scarce element, with a nice silvery grey appearance. Cobalt is used in many applications including radio and nuclear uses. Cobalt is usually found in Africa, and is a by product of Cu and Ni smelting. This element is not found in a native form but is present in small amounts in many rocks, and animals.

Cobalt is used for a variety of things, Cobalt blue glass, and Cobalt blue paint made with Co compounds, Li-Co batteries, many alloys including the alloy "Vitallium" used in joint replacements, Samarium-Cobalt magnets, Cobalt drills and grinding tools, and catalysts. Cobalt is wear and corrosion resistant, and is used in "sputtering" as a coating. The pure element, like iron is magnetic.

Vitamin B12 is  compound that is created by Cobalt processing bacteria in the digestive system of grazing animals such as cows. Cobalt is important to life including humans but cannot be used as a simple salt  and must be processed by these bacteria, or by  an enzyme in some animals. Synthetic B-12 is also an option.

Cobalt 57 can be found in some items such as X ray fluorescent probes, spark gap tubes, and other vacuum tubes. In theory, Cobalt 59 might  be used in a form of weapon. Co59 could "salt" a bomb, and the neutrons from the blast would transform this to Co60 and cause deadly fallout, this fallout would have relative short life.

Cobalt 60 is used in radio-treatments, such as food irradiation, medical,  and  waste sterilization, even x ray metallurgy.  Co60 is also important in stellar nucleosynthesis of super nova.

 In 1984 a disaster involving Co60 and people scraping metal occurred. A man discovered this material inside an old X ray cancer  treatment machine, curiosity and poor handling brought death and illness to the people involved. Co60 is a gamma emitter, and decays with 2 gamma lines of  1.17MeV and 1.33MeV which are energies that are difficult to shield.  The Juarez Accident of 1984 is considered the one of the worse civilian nuclear accidents in history.

Pure Cobalt chunks part of a broken cathode, very nice textures

Co 27 metal  AW:58.9331,  MP:2723,  BP:5301,  D:8.90,  Mohs:5.0 

 Nickel Element Number 28 Ni

Nickel is a very important industrial metal, used in alloys such as stainless steel. Nickel is mined in few places around the world, and the US has closed a major mine, but  one may open. Nickel can be extracted with regular extractive metallurgy, and is generally refined using electrowinning, a process of creating Nickel solution and electroplate to a cathode.  

Nickel is used in mostly Stainless steels and Cu-Ni alloy, also super alloys. Nickel is used in Ni-Cd batteries, plating material, and used for a number of items like faucets, musical instrument strings, and coins.

Nickel is found in meteorites, as Fe-Ni alloy, this extraterrestrial Nickel has been used by man for a few thousand years. Nickel has a special role in the death of giant stars. The Ni56 decays to Co 56 and then Fe56, Fe56 is stable and creates a Iron core in the star, once this happens the star cannot exothermically fuse materials, and the core begins to absorb the energy, until the core gravity collapses the star.  Ni 48 has a special shell structure giving it remarkable stability. Ni60 has the strongest binding of any isotope.

Nickel is one of four magnetic elements at ordinary temperatures. along with Co, Fe, and Gd. Canadian nickels at one point were pure Nickel. and our 5 cent piece was dubbed a nickel, yet our 5 cent coin was and is a 25% nickel 75% copper coin, as of today, worth approx. 7 cents. That's a bargain! except for the US mint, which spends about 8.5 cents to make and ship a 5 cent coin.

Pure Nickel electrowinning buttons, These are produced using a process where the Nickel is liquefied, and a current passed through the solution. The Nickel will deposit onto a cathode, forming these interesting "buttons"

 

 

Ni 28 metal  AW:58.6934,  MP:2651,  BP:5275,  D:8.9,  Mohs:4.0