Cobalt is a transition metal found between iron and nickel on the periodic table. It has a high melting point (1493°C) and retains its strength to a high temperature. Similar to iron or nickel, cobalt is ferromagnetic. It can retain its magnetic properties to 1100°C, a higher temperature than any other material. Ferromagnetism is the strongest type of magneticism: it’s the only one that typically creates forces strong enough to be felt, and is responsible for the magnets encountered in everyday life. Nexteck Technology Limited provides all kinds of alloys, metals, including cobalt.
These unique properties make the metal perfect for two specialized high-tech purposes: superalloys and battery cathodes.
High-performance alloys drive 18% of cobalt demand. The metal’s ability to withstand intense temperatures and conditions makes it perfect for use in jet engines, gas turbines, turbine blades, prosthetics, permanent magnets.
Batteries drives 49% of demand – and most of this comes from cobalt’s usage in lithium-ion battery cathodes. The three most powerful cathode formulations for li-ion batteries all need cobalt. As a result, the metal is indispensable in many of today’s battery-powered devices, such as Tesla Model S (NCA), Tesla Powerwall (NMC), Mobile phones (LCO), Chevy Volt (NMC/LMO) and more. The Tesla Powerwall 2 uses approximately 7kg, and a Tesla Model S (90 kWh) uses approximately 22.5kg of the energy metal.
How does your mobile phone last for 12 hours on just one charge?
It’s the power of cobalt, along with several other energy metals, that keeps your lithium-ion battery running. The only problem? Getting the metal from the source to your electronics is not an easy feat, and this makes for an extremely precarious supply chain for manufacturers.
Most cobalt production is mined as a by-product.
Mine source % cobalt production
Nickel (by-product) 60%
Copper (by-product) 38%
Cobalt (primary) 2%
This means it is hard to expand production when more is needed.
Most production occurs in the DRC , a country with elevated supply risks, which hold approximately 47% of all global reserves, while it is not a ideal supplier due to many reality reasons. Where will tomorrow’s supply come from is the concern for every end users.
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TAG:   alloy superalloy