Nickel: The Element


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http://images.angelpub.com/2011/24/9042/jun-2011-nickel.jpg
Discovery
A Swedish chemist named Axel Fredrik Cronsted discovered nickel in 1751. He found some traces of nickel in the mineral niccolite. Niccolite has nickel arsenide. Nickel aresnide has 56.1% arsenic and 43.9% nickel. The crystals that are in niccolite have a hexagonal shape and occur in a pale copper-red color, and it also has a metallic luster on its surface. Today, nickel is mostly obtained from the mineral pentlandite. A lot of the worlds supply of nickel comes from the mines in the Sudbury region of Ontario, Canada. Some people believe that nickel came from an ancient meteor hitting eath a long time ago.

Uses
Nickel is mainly used in the production of stainless steel, nickel in steel adds extra strength to nickel-steel alloys. Invar is an alloy of nickel and steel, and is used mostly because it has low coefficient of thermal expansion. Invar is used to make pendulums and meter scales because it does not contract or expand even in very high or low temperatures. Here is a list of other uses of nickel:

*In desalination plants, nickel is an important element required in the tubing process.
*Armor plates are important in defense and police services, using nickel in such jackets and plates, make them more tough and durable.
*It is mostly made in coins. It forms an important component in nichrome, permalloy, and constantin.
*For hydrogenating vegetable oils. When nickel is divided it acts as a catalyst.



Sources
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6398286
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3076427
http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele028.html