Cobalt is a magnetic metal.
It displays ferromagnetic properties typically depicted as a high attraction to a magnetic field. Cobalt is a unique transition metal.
Transition metals typically display paramagnetic properties which result in a weak attraction. However, due to the presence of unpaired electrons cobalt is magnetic.
Magnetic Properties of Cobalt
Cobalt is a ferromagnetic metal. As is typical with metals in this category, cobalt has three unpaired electrons in its outer shell.
When the unpaired electrons align in the same direction as an external magnetic field both magnetic fields fuse allowing the atom’s field to stretch beyond the atom itself. This results in a pull towards a stronger magnetic field.
As a ferromagnetic metal cobalt can retain magnetism. When exposed to an external magnetic field cobalt just like other ferromagnetic materials cobalt can remain magnetic even after the external magnet has been withdrawn.
Cobalt has a 2.3×10−2 magnetic permeability. Magnetic permeability is simply the rate of magnetization gained by a metal after it has been exposed to an external magnetic field. Thanks to the three unpaired electrons which are higher than most metals and how those electrons interact, cobalt has an increased Currie of 1145 °C.
Can Cobalt Become a Magnet?
Cobalt is a ferromagnetic metal as such it can retain its magnetism after being exposed to an external magnetic field.
Once the unpaired electrons face the same direction they retain the magnetic charge. They can therefore be used to attract magnetic metal to it and it can easily be attracted by another magnet.
Another way of turning cobalt into a permanent magnet is by alloying it with nickel and aluminum.
The alloy of these three metals forms a permanent magnet referred to as an Alnico.
Cobalt is a popular material in magnets manufacturing process. This is due to the materials reliability and better magnetic properties.