Nickel: its history, uses and properties

Nickel: its history, uses and properties

Nickel is a hard, lustrous, silvery-white metal. Pure nickel was first extracted in 1751 by Baron Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, although it has existed for thousands of years.

Nickel is actually one of the most abundant elements on Earth, although much of it is concentrated below the Earth’s crust. There are two main types of nickel deposits: laterite, and magmatic sulphide. Laterite deposits are the result of intensively weathered nickel-rich rocks which are found on the earth’s surface, whilst magmatic sulphide deposits are derived from silicate magmas. Nickel has also been found in crusts and manganese nodules on the seafloor.

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Where is it found?

Large deposits of nickel have been found in many places across the globe, notably Norway, Canada, Russia, and South Africa.

What are its main characteristics?

Nickel is a strong element that is resistant to corrosion, extremely ductile and malleable. In combination with iron, it is extremely stable.


Today, nickel is one of the most widely used metals and it is estimated that it can be found in more than 300,000 different products.

Some of its most common applications are outlined below.

In the steel industry, nickel is used in the production of stainless steel and alloy steel.

Nickel-based alloys are used in multiple industries, and products that use these include electric stoves, turbine engines, combustion chambers, TV sets, turbine blades, and communication equipment.

Nickel is used in batteries, including nickel-hydrogen batteries, nickel-manganese batteries, chromium-nickel batteries, and MHx-Ni batteries. MHx-Ni batteries are now being used in some electric cars.

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Nickel composites

There are a number of nickel composites including aluminium-nickel, graphene-nickel, nickel-copper, and more. Some of these can be used for coating items and surfaces. These coatings have a number of highly sought-after properties.

If you think that nickel composite coating could be the solution you are looking for, there are a number of great online resources from specialists that can help you decide, such as those seen at

Nickel has many great properties, and this makes it popular for a wide variety of uses.