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cobalt foil is a silvery-colored metal that has a high melting point and good conductivity. It can be used in the production of semiconductors, superconductors, and magnets. It can also be forged to produce cobalt-based alloys. In addition, it can be used in the manufacture of a variety of medical devices.

In a series of experiments, the activation of cobalt foils was studied by repeated calcinations and reductions in diluted hydrogen. The foils were activated to a certain extent by this treatment, but the maximum activity was reached after just one cycle. When more cycles were carried out, the catalyst deactivated. This deactivation was attributed to the formation of carbon on the cobalt surface, as confirmed by Auger spectroscopy.

The increase in catalytic activity with the number of pretreatments was found to depend on the foil thickness, as well as on the reduction time. Scanning electron microscope micrographs of unused and used cobalt foils show that the surfaces become rougher with more pretreatments. The optimum reduction time was found to be 5 min. Doubling the reduction time gave a 50% lower CO conversion. The selectivity to light products increased with increasing reduction time.

The authors analyzed the FT products using 14C labeled C2-C19 olefins that had been added to the feed gas. They found that only a small fraction of the olefins had been incorporated into growing chains prior to leaving the cobalt surface. Thus, they did not consider this to be an important mechanism for the formation of olefins on the cobalt surface.

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