Cobalt is a hard, grey metal and is generally found in association with nickel in the Earth's crust. Cobalt has many industrial uses due to its unique properties such as retaining its strength at a high temperature, high melting point (1493°C), high thermo-stability, being ferromagnetic, and being multivalent. All these properties of cobalt make it effective for enhancing catalytic action. As cobalt possess excellent chemical, physical, and mechanical properties, it is commonly used for fabricating various alloys which are used as wear resistant and high-temperature components, cutting tools, dies, saws, etc. Cobalt is an important ingredient for portable batteries. The growing demand for rechargeable batteries in mobile phones, laptop, tablets, and other portable electronics would be the major growth driver for global cobalt consumption.
Cobalt has a wide range of industrial uses which varies from rechargeable batteries to aircraft engines. Furthermore cobalt is used for industrial chemical processes due to its catalytic properties and is used for the removal of nitrous oxide, desulphurisation of hydrocarbons and others. The typical properties of such as hardness and high temperature resistance of cobalt is used effectively to alloy with other metals. Cobalt alloys is suitable in turbine blades for gas jet aircraft engines and turbines. Various cobalt compounds are used as catalyst in chemical reactions. Furthermore, cobalt’s chemical and physical properties make it an essential ingredient for electroplating, coloring of pigments and ceramics, manufacture of automobile tires and permanent magnets. Cobalt powder is used as bonding tools in diamond industry and for high speed cutting tools it is used as binder for the production of cemented tungsten carbides. Owing to all such applications of cobalt, is growingly used in end-user industries such as electronic batteries, automotive tires, and other industries across the globe.
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The growing demand of automotive and electronic industry would have positive impact on cobalt powder market in years to come. Therefore, based on the uses of electronics, Asia Pacific is projected to be the fastest growing market for cobalt powder in the next six years. The main reason for this is the growing demand of electronics batteries from developing countries such as China and India. However, some countries of Africa, South America and the Middle East have shown economic and industrial growth since the last few years which would have a positive impact on the use of cobalt powder in various industries. The U.S. and countries of European region is would have major application of cobalt powder as they are recovering from the economic dispersion. All such factors would enhance the uses of cobalt powder across the globe. Considering this prospect automotive, batteries and other cobalt application related industries are expected to witness a strong growth in the coming years. Furthermore, the disposable income of individuals and increasing uses of portable electronics would have a tremendous market potential for cobalt powder. Due to this, the demand for cobalt powder in the automotive and electronic industry is anticipated to grow at an outstanding rate in the next few years.
Some of the major companies operating in the global cobalt powder market are Sandvik Materials Technology, Umicore - Cobalt & Specialty Materials, Freeport Cobalt Oy, Sherritt International, Sumitomo Corporation, Minara Resources Pty Ltd., Eramet and Norilsk Nickel.
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