We have found that phase transformation can occur in cobalt when subjected to ball milling. The two modifications of cobalt, i.e., face‐center‐cubic (fcc) and hexagonal close‐packed (hcp) phases, which usually coexist at room temperature and are often difficult to be separated from each other, can now be easily separated by using the simple ball milling technique. The phase formation of cobalt was found to depend on the mill intensity. Under different mill intensity or different milling time, the phase transformations follow the routes of hcp+fcc→hcp, hcp+fcc→hcp→fcc+hcp, and hcp+fcc→hcp→fcc+hcp→fcc, respectively. Our results indicate that the phase formation of cobalt induced by ball milling was determined by the accumulation of structure defects. Different mill intensity may adjust the rate and level of the accumulation of defects. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.