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cobalt metal powder is used in a wide range of key technologies such as additive manufacturing (AM) and surface coating. Hoganas supplies AM-specific cobalt and cobalt alloy powders for 3D printing applications and for surface coating deposition techniques including HVOF, laser cladding and plasma transferred arc (PTA). Cobalt-based hard alloy powder is also used in the mnufacture of Lithium-ion battery electrodes and in the manufacture of magnetic and wear resistant products.

Cobalt is an important element in superhard alloys, where it plays a significant role in the bonding properties of the alloy and its resistance to corrosion and oxidation at high temperatures. Cobalt-based hard alloys typically comprise a mixture of chromium and tungsten with small amounts of nickel, molybdenum, silicon, carbon and niobium.

The production of cobalt metal powder typically involves the digestion of a cobalt source in hydrochloric acid, precipitation, and reduction to form fine metallic cobalt particles. Prior art processes for producing cobalt-based alloys by hydrogen reduction of a wet cobalt-containing precipitate produce an undesirable amount of hard tailings. The present invention is directed to reducing the formation of these hard tailings by controlling the size of the intermediate cobaltous oxide before it is reduced.

Cobalt compounds are used extensively in the enameling industry and for pigments. They are also used as drying agents for paints, coatings and inks. Various cobalt salts are used as electroplating catalysts and cobalt carboxylates are also effective oxidation catalysts in chemical reactions such as the production of terephthalic acid from ethylene. Cobalt and its compounds are also a significant part of the nickel-cadmium and nickel metal hydride rechargeable batteries.

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