Atomic Number: 28
Atomic Symbol: Ni
Atomic Weight: 58.70
Electron Configuration: [Ar]4s23d8
History(German Nickel, Satan or Old Nick's and from kupfernickel, Old Nick's
copper) Cronstedt discovered nickel in 1751 in kupfernickel (niccolite).
SourcesNickel is found as a constituent in most meteorites and often serves
as one of the criteria for distinguishing a meteorite from other minerals.
Iron meteorites, or siderites, may contain iron
alloyed with from 5 percent to nearly 20 percent nickel. Nickel is obtained
commercially from pentlandite and pyrrhotite of the Sudbury region of Ontario, a
district that produces about 30 percent of the world's supply of nickel.
Other deposits are found in New Caledonia, Australia, Cuba,
Indonesia, and elsewhere.
PropertiesNickel is silvery white and takes on a high polish. It is hard,
malleable, ductile, somewhat ferromagnetic, and a fair conductor of heat and
electricity. It belongs to the iron-cobalt group of metals and is chiefly
valuable for the alloys it forms.
UsesIt is extensively used for making stainless steel and other
corrosion-resistant alloys such as Invar®, Monel®, Inconel®,
and the Hastelloys®. Tubing made of copper-nickel alloy is
extensively used in making desalination plants for converting sea water into
Nickel, used extensively to make coins and nickel steel for
armor plates and burglar-proof vaults, and is also a component in Nichrome®,
Permalloy®, and constantan.
Nickel gives glass a greenish color. Nickel plating is often
used to provide a protective coating for other metals, and finely divided nickel
is a catalyst for hydrogenating vegetable oils. It is also used in ceramics, in
the manufacture of Alnico magnets, and in the Edison® storage
IsotopesThe sulfate and the oxides are important compounds. Natural nickel is
a mixture of five stable isotopes; nine other unstable isotopes are known.
HandlingExposure to nickel metal and soluble compounds (as Ni) should not
exceed 0.05 mg/cm3 (8-hour time-weighted average - 40-hour work
week). Nickel sulfide fume and dust is recognized as being potentially
Sources: CRC Handbook of Chemistry and
Physics and the American Chemical Society.