Meaning of NICKEL in English

(Ni), chemical element, ferromagnetic metal of Group VIII of the periodic table, markedly resistant to oxidation and corrosion. Properties, occurrence, and uses. Silvery-white, tough, and harder than iron, nickel is widely familiar because of its use in coinage but is more important either as the pure metal or in the form of alloys for its many domestic and industrial applications. Elemental nickel very sparingly occurs together with iron in terrestrial and meteoric deposits. The metal was isolated (1751) by a Swedish chemist and mineralogist, Baron Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, who prepared an impure sample from an ore containing niccolite (nickel arsenide). Earlier, an ore of this same type was called Kupfernickel after Old Nick and his mischievous gnomes because, though it resembled copper ore, it yielded a brittle, unfamiliar metal. Twice as abundant as copper, nickel constitutes about 0.007 percent of the Earth's crust; it is a fairly common constituent of igneous rocks, though singularly few deposits qualify in concentration, size, and accessibility for commercial interest. The most important sources are pentlandite, found with nickel-bearing pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite, and nickel-bearing laterites, such as garnierite. For a discussion of the properties and applications of nickel, see Chemical Elements: Transition elements. For information about the mining, refining, and production of nickel, see Industries, Extraction and Processing: Nickel. Nickel (atomic number 28) resembles iron (atomic number 26) in strength and toughness but is more like copper (atomic number 29) in resistance to oxidation and corrosion, a combination accounting for many of its applications. More than half the nickel produced is used in alloys with iron (particularly in stainless steels), and most of the rest is used in corrosion-resistant alloys with copper (including Monel) and in heat-resistant alloys with chromium. Nickel is also used in electrically resistive, magnetic, and many other kinds of alloys, such as nickel silver (with copper and zinc but no silver). The unalloyed metal is utilized to form protective coatings on other metals, especially by electroplating. Finely divided nickel is employed to catalyze the hydrogenation of unsaturated organic compounds (e.g., fats and oils). Natural nickel consists of five stable isotopes: nickel-58 (68.27 percent), nickel-60 (26.10 percent), nickel-61 (1.13 percent), nickel-62 (3.59 percent), and nickel-64 (0.91 percent). It has a face-centred-cubic crystal structure. Nickel is ferromagnetic up to 358 C, or 676 F (its Curie point). The metal is uniquely resistant to the action of alkalies and is frequently used for containers for concentrated solutions of sodium hydroxide. Nickel reacts slowly with strong acids under ordinary conditions to liberate hydrogen and form Ni2+ ions.

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