Nickel is an alloy metal, silvery white in color that takes on a high polish. It belongs to the class of transition metals, and is hard and ductile. The metal is found combined with sulphur in millerite, with arsenic in the mineral niccolite, and with arsenic and sulphur in nickel glance.
It is pre-eminently an alloy metal, and its main use is in the nickel steels and nickel cast irons, of which there are large number of varieties. The metal is also widely used for many other alloys, such as nickel brasses and bronzes, and alloys with copper, chromium, aluminum, lead, cobalt, silver, and gold.
The metal is magnetic in nature, and is very frequently accompanied by cobalt, both being found in meteoric iron.Nickel Alloy Consumption
The industrial consumption of the metals can be summarized as follows:
- Nickel steels (60%)
- Nickel-copper alloys and nickel silver (14%)
- Malleable nickel, nickel clad and Inconel (9%)
- Plating (6%)
- Nickel cast irons (3%)
- Heat and electric resistance alloys (3%)
- Nickel brasses and bronzes (2%)
- Others (3%).
Nickel Alloy Characteristics
Commercial nickel and nickel alloys are available in the global market in a wide range of wrought and cast grades. Wrought alloys are better known by trade names such as Monel, Hastelloy, Inconel, Incoloy, etc. Casting alloys are identified by Alloy Casting Institute and ASTM designations.Types of Nickel Alloys
Some of the common nickel alloys include:
- Commercially pure nickel
- Binary systems, including Ni-Cu, Ni-Si, and Ni-Mo
- Ternary systems, including Ni-Cr-Fe and Ni-Cr-Mo
- More complex systems, including Ni-Cr-Fe-Mo-Cu
Applications of Nickel Alloy
Nickel and its alloys are widely used in large number of industries and areas including: Nickel is used in many industrial and consumer products, including
- Stainless steel
- Special alloys