Chem Explorers

The Versatile Wonder: Unveiling the Secrets of Nickel’s Uses and Properties

Introduction to Nickel

Nickel is a versatile and exceptionally durable transition metal that is used to make a wide range of products that we use daily. From household appliances to jewelry, spacecraft to coins, nickel plays a significant role in our lives.

As one of the world’s essential metals, Nickel has been used for thousands of years, and its use continues to grow. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide on Nickel, its properties, where it is found, and how it is extracted.

Definition and Chemical Symbol/Formula of Nickel

Nickel is a chemical element that belongs to the transition metal group, with the symbol Ni and the atomic number 28. It is a hard, silvery-white lustrous metal with a density of 8.91 grams per cubic centimeter.

Nickel has an atomic mass of 58.69u and a melting point of 1453C and boiling point of 2732C. Nickel is magnetic at room temperature and has excellent corrosion resistance.

Properties and Characteristics of Nickel

Nickel is a ductile, malleable, and highly lustrous metal with high electrical conductivity. It can absorb up to 200 times its own volume of hydrogen gas, making it a significant component of catalysts that produce hydrogen gas.

Nickel is a good conductor of heat and electricity, as well as being highly resistant to corrosion. Nickel alloys are used in many industrial and engineering applications due to their excellent strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion.

Where Nickel is Found

Natural Occurrence of Nickel

Nickel is a widespread metal found in the Earth’s crust and the fifth most common element, making up around 0.008% of the Earth’s crust. It is obtained from two main types of deposits: Magmatic sulfide deposits and laterite deposits.

Sulfide deposits are found in igneous rocks, while laterite deposits are typically found in tropical regions that experience high rainfall.

Extraction of Nickel from its Ores

The process of extracting nickel from its ores is an intricate process that involves multiple steps. The two primary methods used to extract nickel from its ores are hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy.

Hydrometallurgy is the most common method used to extract nickel, where the ore is roasted to remove moisture and then leached with sulfuric acid to dissolve the nickel, which is then extracted from the solution using solvents. Pyrometallurgy is the process of extracting nickel using high temperatures, typically using carbon to reduce the nickel oxide to pure metal.

This process is highly energy-intensive and produces significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Nickel is an essential component of many everyday items and has an array of industrial and medical uses.

This article has offered a comprehensive guide on nickel, highlighting its specification, properties, extraction, and uses.

The History of Nickel

Nickel is a metal that has been used by humans for more than 2500 years. The word “nickel” comes from the German word “kupfernickel,” meaning devil’s copper or false copper.

It was named this way because miners mistook nickel ore for copper and believed that it was evil because it did not yield any copper.

Origin of the Name Nickel

The history of the name “nickel” dates back to the 16th century when German miners discovered a red-colored ore that looked like copper but did not yield any copper. They believed that it was the work of the devil, and so they named it “kupfernickel” or “devil’s copper.” The name stuck, and eventually, it was shortened to simply “nickel.”

Discovery of Nickel

Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, a Swedish chemist and mineralogist, is credited with the discovery of nickel. In 1751, Cronstedt was experimenting with a new mineral he had found in the Swedish province of Uppland.

After analyzing it, he realized that it was a new element, which he named nickel. Cronstedt found that nickel was alloyed with arsenic, cobalt, and iron in the mineral, which he named “Nickeline.”

Nickel Identification

Atomic and CAS Numbers of Nickel

Nickel has an atomic number of 28 and a Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number of 7440-02-0. The atomic number represents the number of protons in the nucleus of a nickel atom, while the CAS number is used to identify specific chemical substances.

Position of Nickel on the Periodic Table

Nickel is located in group 10 of the periodic table, also known as the “transitional metals.” It is in period 4 of the table and belongs to the d-block elements. This means that nickel has its valence electrons in the d orbital.

Its d-block designation is due to its electron configuration, which ends in d8, meaning it has a total of eight electrons in its d-orbitals. Nickel is a corrosion-resistant metal and is commonly used in alloys.

It is an essential component of stainless steel due to its ability to resist corrosion, temperature, and mechanical stress. Nickel can also be found in rechargeable batteries, metal hydride batteries, and fuel cells.

It is also used as a coating for decorative items because of its shiny surface. In conclusion, nickel has a rich history and plays a significant role in our daily lives.

From being named after the devil to its use in making rechargeable batteries, it continues to serve us in numerous ways. Understanding its properties, discovery, and history is essential in appreciating its importance.

Properties and Characteristics of Nickel

Nickel is a chemical element in the period table and has the atomic number 28. It is a transition metal with various outstanding physical and chemical properties.

General Properties of Nickel

Nickel has an atomic weight of 58.69, a molar mass of 58.6934 g/mol, and a specific gravity of 8.90 g/cm^3 at room temperature. It is relatively hard, with a Mohs hardness rating of 4, which means that it can scratch glass but can’t be scratched by a fingernail.

Furthermore, it has a relatively high tensile strength, which makes it suitable for use in alloys.

Physical Properties of Nickel

Nickel is a silvery-white lustrous metal that has a metallic appearance. It is one of the few elements that have a vivid and substantial coloration.

At room temperature, nickel is a solid metal with a melting point of 1455C, boiling point of 2730C, and a density of 8.90 g/cm^3. It belongs to the class of transition metals and is hard enough to resist being cut by a knife.

Nickel is also ductile and malleable.

Chemical Properties of Nickel

Nickel has a unique ability to form various oxidation states, including -2, 0, +1, +2, +3, +4. However, the most stable state is +2.

Nickel is not flammable, but it can react with other substances when heated, which may cause it to create flammable and explosive hydrogen gas.

Magnetic Properties of Nickel

Nickel has intriguing magnetic properties that make it essential in various industries. It is ferromagnetic, which means that it has substantial magnetic moments and can be magnetized when exposed to an external magnetic field.

Nickel also has a magnetic ordering that aligns itself along the field direction when magnetized.

Atomic Data of Nickel

Valence Electrons and Quantum Numbers of Nickel

Nickel has two valence electrons, which are found in the 4s orbital. It has an electron configuration of [Ar]3d8 4s2, which means that its eight valence electrons are in the d orbital.

Furthermore, Nickel has quantum numbers, which are used to describe the theoretical distribution of electrons in the atom. These numbers define the atomic orbitals and their energy levels and include the principal quantum number, azimuthal quantum number, magnetic quantum number, and spin quantum number.

Electron Configuration and Crystal Structure of Nickel

Nickel has a face-centered cubic crystal structure, also known as a cubic close-packed structure. Each Nickel atom has 12 nearest neighbor atoms arranged in an octahedral formation, which makes the metal particularly robust.

The metallic bonds in nickel are strong, making it relatively stable.

Atomic Structure and Energy Levels of Nickel

The atomic structure of Nickel comprises of 28 protons, 28 electrons, and 31 neutrons arranged in the nucleus. The electrons occupy specific energy levels that are quantized.

Each energy level contains a set number of electrons, which radiate outwards according to the amount of energy that they contain. These energy levels are divided into sub-levels and orbitals, which dictate the behavior of an atom in its chemical reactions.

In Conclusion, Nickel has diverse and unique properties that make it indispensable in various industries. These properties include its physical appearance, magnetic ordering, and chemical reactions, among others.

Understanding these properties is crucial in understanding its behavior and unique properties that make it essential in various fields.

Uses of Nickel

Nickel is an incredibly versatile metal with unique properties that make it an essential element in many products. Some of the most common uses of nickel are in alloys, stainless steel, and catalytic converters.

Let’s explore some of the uses of nickel in detail. Industrial

Uses of Nickel

Stainless Steel: Nickel is a crucial component of stainless steel due to its corrosion-resistant properties.

It is alloyed with other metals such as chromium, molybdenum, and iron to form a stable, rust-resistant alloy that has excellent strength and durability. Alloys: Nickel alloys are highly valued due to their resistance to heat, pressure, and corrosion.

It is commonly used in the manufacturing of aircraft parts, turbines, rocket engines, and power generators. Alkaline Batteries: Nickel is used as a component of alkaline batteries due to its high energy-density and favorable electrochemical properties.

Electroplating: Nickel is commonly used in electroplating, which is the process of coating a metal with a thin layer of nickel. The electroplating process provides an extra layer of protection against corrosion and wear, making the metal more durable.

Catalyst: Nickel is used as a catalyst in various chemical reactions due to its ability to increase the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process. Consumer

Uses of Nickel

Electrical Appliances: Nickel is used in various electrical appliances, especially in heating elements.

It is also used in electrical contacts due to its high conductivity and resistance to corrosion. Glass Coloration: Nickel is used to provide a green coloration to glass, which is used in decorative items and stained-glass windows.

Health Effects of Nickel

Carcinogenic: Exposure

to Nickel has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, especially lung cancer. Allergies: Nickel is known to cause allergic skin reactions in some people.

Poisoning: High levels of Nickel in the body can cause toxicity and pose a significant health risk. Health Benefits: Nickel is an essential nutrient, and deficiencies can lead to growth retardation, skin rashes, and infertility.

Foods High in Nickel: Certain foods are naturally high in Nickel, including beans, almonds, soy products, and chocolate.

Interesting Facts About Nickel

Unique Properties: Nickel is a metal that has unique characteristics, including resistance to rust and corrosion. It can withstand high temperatures and is often used in industrial processes that require high heat.

Incredibly, Nickel turns red hot when heated to its melting point. Monetary Value: The cost of Nickel varies significantly, depending on the supply and demand in the market.

As of 2021, the price of Nickel ranges between $7 and $19 per pound. In Conclusion, Nickel is a precious metal and a valuable element in many manufacturing processes.

It has unique properties and a broad range of uses, making it an indispensable element in various industries. From catalytic processes to glass coloration, stainless steel to batteries, Nickel continues to play a significant role in our daily lives.

In conclusion, nickel is a versatile and valuable metal with a range of industrial and consumer uses. It is an essential component of stainless steel, alloys, and catalytic converters, providing strength, durability, and corrosion resistance.

Nickel also finds its way into everyday consumer products like electrical appliances and glass coloration. However, it’s important to be aware of the health effects of nickel, such as allergies and potential carcinogenicity.

Despite these concerns, nickel continues to be a vital element in various industries, showcasing its unique properties and wide-ranging applications. Overall, nickel is a valuable resource that plays a significant role in our modern world.


1) Is nickel found naturally in the environment? Yes, nickel is a naturally occurring element found in the Earth’s crust.

2) What are some common industrial uses of nickel? Nickel is commonly used in stainless steel production, alloys, batteries, electroplating, and as a catalyst in various chemical reactions.

3) Are there any health risks associated with nickel exposure? Extended exposure to high levels of nickel can be toxic and potentially carcinogenic, while some people may also develop allergic reactions to nickel.

4) What are some everyday consumer products that contain nickel? Nickel is used in electrical appliances, glass coloration, jewelry, and various metal objects found in households.

5) What is the cost of nickel? The price of nickel can vary depending on market demand, but as of 2021, it ranges between $7 and $19 per pound.

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