Does Cobalt Conduct Electricity? 7 Facts You Should Know

Cobalt is a chemical element used widely in medical fields to make blue paint, ceramics, and glassware. This article deals with the electric conductivity of cobalt.

Cobalt conducts electricity due to the presence of free electrons. Cobalt is a transition metal with atomic number 27, having an electronic configuration [Ar] 4s2 3d7, and consists of nine valence electrons that help conduct electric current flow and produce electricity.

We shall discuss in detail the reason behind the electrical conductivity of cobalt and its electrical properties, whether it can conduct electricity even better than copper, its resistivity, and its different utility and uses as an electrical conductor.

Why is cobalt a good electrical conductor?

The metals are good conductors of electricity as they allow the electric flux to penetrate through the matter. Let us discuss why cobalt is a good electrical conductor.

Cobalt is a good electrical conductor because it allows the electric current to flow across its cross-sectional area and the electric flux density through cobalt is sufficiently high to conduct the charge flow. It has a good number of valence electrons, increasing the density of charge flow per unit area of the matter.

What is the electrical conductivity of cobalt?

The electrical conductivity of cobalt is very important to estimate the total electric current it can generate. Let us discuss the electrical conductivity of cobalt in detail.

The electrical conductivity of cobalt is 0.172 × 106 S/m. It determines the flow rate of charges per sec to produce electricity. The electrical conductivity of cobalt is the ratio of current density to the electric field produced by the charges. It is also measured as the reciprocal of the cobalt’s resistivity.

Properties of Cobalt

There are several properties of cobalt that necessarily makes it a good electric conductor. Let us list some of the properties of cobalt here below.

  • Cobalt is hard, moderately reactive, lustrous conductive transition metal.
  • The oxidation state of Co is +2 and +3 and reacts slowly with dilute acids.
  • Co is ferromagnetic and has the highest curie point of 2050 0F.
  • Co is hcp structured with hardness 5 on the Mohs scale.
  • It catches fire in powdered form.

What is the electrical resistivity of a cobalt?

The electrical resistivity of cobalt indicates the total electric current flow prevented by it. Let us elaborately understand the electrical resistivity of cobalt.

The electrical resistivity of cobalt is 62.4 nΏ.m. It determines the capacity of cobalt metal to resist the flow of charges when connected to the source voltage. It is the inverse of its conductivity and is calculated using the formula ρ=RA/l where ρ is resistivity, R is resistance, A is the area, and l is the length.

Is cobalt a poor electrical conductor than copper?

Let us now try to answer why cobalt is not used widely in electric wires despite being a good conductor rather than copper, which has high demand in electronic industries.

Cobalt is a poor electrical conductor compared to copper because copper’s electrical conductivity is 5.98 ×107 S/m, which is higher than cobalt. Cu has a single electron in the 4s orbital that escapes easily from the outer shell. The resistivity of cobalt is higher than copper, thus making it electrically poor than Cu.

Chromium Image by Pumbaa80 (CC BY-SA 2.0 UK) from Wikimedia Commons

Uses of Cobalt as an Electric Conductor

Cobalt is used for wide applications in electronic industries and equipment as it is a good conductor of electricity. Let us list some of the uses of cobalt as an electric conductor.

  • Cobalt is used in batteries, and its oxide is used in Li-ion batteries.
  • Co magnets are used in speakers and earphones to amplify sound.
  • Ferromagnetic Co is used in motors, disk drives, and tapes.
  • The ICs used in computers, mobiles, TVs, etc., are made of Co.
  • Co is used in the electric car’s rechargeable battery.

Why is cobalt a good conductor of heat?

Metals are generally good conductors because of their ionic structure. Let us discuss why cobalt is a good conductor of heat.

Cobalt is a good conductor of heat because it can acquire heat energy and transmit it across its volume through convection. The specific heat capacity of cobalt is 0.42 J/gK. The valence electrons of cobalt allow the heat energy to flow by giving away the acquired energy during their transition.

Conclusion

We can conclude from this article that cobalt is a good conductor of electricity as it has nine valence electrons in its outermost shell. The electrical conductivity of cobalt is less than that of copper. Being electrically good conductive, cobalt is used in electronic equipment.

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