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Cobalt(II) oxalate dihydrate is a light pink powder that is used as a temperature indicator, and as a preparation for indicators, catalysts, and cobalt oxide. It is insoluble in water and converts to the anhydrous cobalt(II) oxide upon heating. It is commonly made from recycling lithium-ion battery cathode material as part of the process for recycling lithium-ion batteries, and it is also produced as a byproduct of the production of nickel-cobalt oxide for use in electric motors.
Many ionic compounds that contain a transition metal have both an anhydrous form and a hydrate form. The anhydrous forms of these compounds typically have no water in their crystal structure, while the hydrates have one or more water molecules bound to each formula unit. The hydrates are often highly colored, compared to the anhydrous compounds, with some having distinctive colorations that can be easily recognized.
Determining the formula of a hydrate is an important procedure in chemical analysis, because it allows for the calculation of its molar mass and other properties. For example, the molar mass of Co(Cl 2 ) (H2 O) hydrate is determined by dividing the molar mass of the anhydrous Co(Cl 2 ) by the number of moles of water liberated during heating and multiplying by 100%.
To determine the formula of a sample of cobalt(II) oxalate hydrate, a weighed amount of the substance was placed in an Erlenmeyer flask along with 0.5 mL of 0.1 M sulfuric acid and heated until a specific color change was observed. The flask and solution were then re-weighed, and the percent of oxalate by mass was calculated from this information.