Nickel

Extricated from two ores laterites and magmatic sulfides, nickel is a transition metal. The name nickel originates from the German term "Kupfernickel," which means devil's copper. It is more probably to be found in the Earth's core rather than the Earth's crust. This element is amongst the most versatile natural substances extracted on the planet. Nickel's chemical name is Ni; thus, the metal is also called Ni element. 


Moreover, this metal is the fifth most abundant element in the world. Nickel uses are remarkably valuable in the production of an array of materials ranging from military equipment and wires to coins. The amazing nickel properties also make it an excellent source for creating many other alloys by melting and blending two or more metals. You will discover around 3,000 nickel-containing alloys in your daily use items. They are available in different forms, such as balls, pipes, angles, coils, rods, sheets, plates, bars, tubings, and much more.


Chemical Properties on Nickel


Group

10

Melting point

1455℃, 2651℉, 1728 K

Period

4

Boiling point

2913℃, 5275℉, 3186 K

Block

d

Density(g cm⁻³)

8.90

Atomic number

28

Relative atomic mass

58.693

State at 20℃

Solid

Key isotopes

⁵⁸Ni

Electron configuration

(Ar) 3d⁸4s²

C A S number

7440-02-0


Extraction of Nickel

Nickel can be easily manufactured through the standard cold and hot working techniques of metallurgy. Maximum nickel ores have nickel sulfide (NiS) in them. These minerals are heated in the air that converts the nickel sulfide into nickel oxide. Further, on treating nickel oxide with a chemical, you get a pure nickel when oxygen discards from it.


The majority of nickel deposit mines are in New Caledonia, Russia, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, and the Sudbury basin of Canada. 

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Discovery of Nickel

While working on a new metal that originated from a mine at Los, Hälsingland, Sweden, Baron Axel Fredrik Cronstedt initially thought it might consist of copper. Hence earlier, nickel was named "Kupfer Nickel."


But in the year 1754, the Swedish chemist and mineralogist tried heating "Kupfernickel" using charcoal; he noticed a lot of different properties like being magnetic and white in colour. Hence, Cronstedt is the first person to extract and isolate nickel as a new element. Eventually, he removed the term "Kupfer" and re-named this new element as nickel.


Basic Nickel Properties

  • Nickel is ferromagnetic, which means it easily magnetises at room temperature.

  • It is both malleable and ductile.

  • One of the best nickel properties is that it is resistant to heat, oxidation, and corrosion.

  • It has a ni chemical name and silver-white colour with a golden hue.

  • The nickel atomic number is 28.

  • The nickel melting point is 2,831°F (1,555°C) whereas, its boiling point is approximately 5,135°F (2,835°C). 

  • A pure form of nickel reacts with oxygen.


The Ground - State Ni Electron Configuration

Before knowing the ni electron configuration first let us understand what is electron configuration. As you have a home to live, electrons have their own place to reside as well. Where these particles head is directed by the electron configuration, which defines the collection of the electron in an atom. Now let us know about the ni electron configuration.


The ground state ni electron configuration is the composition of electrons around the atom's nucleus with lower energy levels. The electrons obtaining the orbitals of diversifying energy levels typically fall towards the ground state or the lowest energy state.


Ni element is in the d block, 7th column and 4th energy level. Hence, it indicates that the ni electron configuration will end 3d8 with the d orbital to be one level lesser as compared to its energy level.


(Ni) Nickel atomic number = 28


Ground state electron configuration of Ni = [Ar] 3d⁸ 4s² 


or 1s², 2s², 2p⁶, 3s², 3p⁶, 4s², 3d⁸,


[Ar] is Argon.


Application of Nickel

If you think what is nickel used for, you will be astonished to read further. Today the uses of this natural element can be seen in a wide range of things that make it one of the essential metals. Below are some of the important uses of nickel:

  • Nearly 65% of all nickel production goes into the manufacturing of stainless steel.

  • Various batteries contain the ni element, such as nickel-metal hydride batteries and rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries.

  • Since as per nickel properties, the metal is malleable and flexible; hence, it is a favourable material to create wires. 

  • Superalloys composed by mixing ni element with iron or cobalt are used in gas turbines and parts of a jet engine. 

  • Myriad appliances and everyday items incorporate nickel in it, for example, hand-held power tools, camcorders, scanner radios, guitar strings, laptops, cellular and cordless telephones.

  • The desalination plants commonly use copper-nickel alloy to transform seawater into freshwater. 

  • Application of nickel as a colouring agent in cosmetics, paints, and some varieties of plastics are in the form of nickel dimethylglyoxime compound.

  • Electroplating on other metals by using this natural substance is also a significant application of nickel.


Negative Effects of Nickel

Like many other metals on the Earth, if too much of nickel enters the human body, it also has some bad impacts on humans. Firstly, while mining, inhalation of some nickel compounds can cause allergies to the miners that are not curable. Such workers are more prone to fibrosis, lung cancer, etc. Also, there are risks of toxicity for humans when large amounts of nickel collect in the air, soil, food, or water supply. 


Fun Facts

  • The biggest producer of nickel in the world is Russia; however, China is the biggest user of this metal. 

  • The 5 cent coin of the USA is a combination of 75% copper and 25% nickel.

  • You consume nickel compounds through some kind of foods, such as the navy beans, fruits, and nuts.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Is Nickel a Good Conductor of Electricity?

Answer. Yes, nickel, like any other metal, is a relatively good conductor of electricity. It is the reason that you will see the application of nickel elements in various electronic products. Also, nickel wires conduct electrons almost as effectively as the copper wire.

Q2. What is a Nickel - a Pure Metal or an Alloy?

Answer.  Nickel is primarily metal. But the application of nickel with various other materials increases nickel properties like corrosion and heat - resistance, durability etc. This way, you get new substances, which are known as Nickel alloys, for example, nickel - iron, nickel - copper alloys, Nickel-chromium alloys, nickel - chromium-iron alloys, and others.