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Nickel (Ni) is a heatproof, heat-resistant and corrosive-resistant metal. This determines its application as a construction material for products subject to hostile environments (including under high temperatures) and mechanical load under high temperature. Besides this, nickel is a common alloying agent for steels and alloys. This page contains description of nickel physical properties, applications, grades, types of products.

Main information

Nickel (Ni) (Niccolum) is a chemical element with atomic number 28 in the periodical system; it is a forgeable, polishable and plastic magnetic metal of yellowish silver colour. Its density is 8.902 g/cm3, melting temperature tmelt. = 1453°С, boiling temperature tboil. = 2730-2915°С. Nickel is a ferromagnetic, its Curie-point is about 358 °C. Compacted nickel is stable in air. Its surface is covered by a thin NiO oxide that protects the metal from further oxidation.

Ni content in the earth’s crust is about 8·10-3% (by weight). Probably the Earth core contains enormous amounts of this element - about 17·1019tons as, according to one of the most popular anticipations, it is a iron-nickel alloy. Sea water contains about 1·10-8-5·10-8% of nickel.


Swedish metallurgist A. F. Cronstedt was the first who found nickel in NiAs (“copper nickel”). This happened in 1751. At that time it was considered to be a “semi-metal” - an element with both metal and non-metal properties. This opinion was strongly criticized. But in 1775 Swede T. Bergman proved that nickel is an elementary substance. Nickel was finally approved in 1804 when German chemist J. Richter obtained pure metal by reducing nickel sulphate.

Nickel properties

Physical properties

Property Value
Atomic number 28
Atomic weight, amu 58,69
Atomic diameter, nm 248
Density, g/cm³ 8,902
Specific heat, J/(K·mole) 0,443
Heat conductivity, W/(m·K) 90,9
Melting temperature, °С 1453
Boiling temperature, °С 2730-2915
Melting heat, kJ/mole 17,61
Vaporization heat, kJ/mole 378,6
Molecular volume, cm³/mole 6,6
Group of metals Heavy metal

Chemical properties

Property Nickel
Covalent radius, nm 115
Ionic radius, nm (+2e) 69
Electronegativity (Pauling) 1,91
Electrolytic potential 0
Oxidation 3, 2, 0

Nickel grades

Currently there are many industrial nickel grades.
  • N0, N1 — primary nickel, Ni+Co content - at least 99.99% and 99.93% correspondingly; it is produced in form of cathode sheets, plates and flat bars. These products are made by electrolytic reduction.
  • N2, N3, N4 — primary nickel, Ni+Co content - at least 99.8%, 98.6% and 97.6% correspondingly; produced in form of plates, flat bars, cathode sheets, drops, crops and ingots. These products are made by electrolytic reduction, remelting, extrusion of nickel waste or fire refining.
  • NP1, NP2, NP3, NP4 — semi-finished nickel, Ni+Co content - at least 99.99%, 99.5%, 99.3% and 99.0% correspondingly; produced in form of nickel wire, rods, sheets, flat bars and strips.
  • NPA1, NPA2 — anode semi-finished nickel, Ni+Co content - at least 99.7%, 99.0% correspondingly; produced in form of sheets and rods.
  • NPAN — non-passivating anode semi-finished nickel (without high-resistive thin film), Ni+Co content - at least 99.4%; produced in form of rods and sheets.
  • NK0,2 — nickel silicide, Ni+Co content - at least 99.4%; produced in form of wire.
  • NMts1, NMts2, NMts2,5, NMts5 — manganese nickel, contains up to 98.5% of Ni+Co (NMts1 grade); produced in form of wire.


  • has a good high temperature strength and heat resistance;
  • has a high corrosive resistance in many hostile environments.
  • high cost.

Nickel applications

Nickel is usually included in different alloys. All stainless steels always contain this metal as it increases the alloy chemical stability. Also nickel alloys have a high viscosity, so this allows using them for making strong armor. Nickel-iron alloy (36-38% Ni) is used for making the most important components of different devices as it has a low coefficient of thermal expansion.

Alloys under common name “permalloys” are widely used for making electro-magnet limbs. Besides iron, these alloys contain 40-80% of Ni. Nickel alloys are used for engraving coins. There are a few thousands of alloys used in practice.

Different metals are nickel-plated for protecting them from corrosion. A thin corrosive-resistant nickel layer is applied on the metal. Nickel-plating also is performed for prettifying the products.

Nickel is widely used for producing various chemical apparatus, in shipbuilding, electric engineering, for producing alkaline cells and other purposes. Synthetic dispersed nickel is widely used as a catalyst of different chemical reactions. Nickel oxides are used for producing ferrite materials and as a pigment for glass, glazes and ceramics; oxides and some salts serve as catalysts of several processes and making iron-nickel, nickel-cadmium, nickel-zinc, nickel-hydrogen cells.

Nickel products

Currently there is a huge variety of industrial nickel products. The most common ones are nickel wire and filament, strip and foil, rods and round bars, sheets and flat bars, tubes and powder.

Nickel anodes so as powder are widely used for nickel-plating various products. Cathodes - another type of nickel sheets - are used as burden for producing nickel-containing alloys. Nickel powderis also used as an alloying agent besides cathodes. In general, nickel products are actively used in industries with strict requirements towards corrosive stability of materials in hostile environments.


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