Nickel is a transition element and is present in U.S five cent coin, which is composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel. It is second most abundant element and is being widely used in making metal alloys and electronics.
History and Discovery
German Miners extract copper from nickel ores in Saxony in 15th century and referred that metal ‘’Kupfernickel’’, which was a term used for useless person, as nickel had a deceptive silver color and was apparently valueless. Pure nickel was successfully extracted by Baron Axel Fredrik Cronstedt in 1751 . Commercial mining of nickel started in1848 in Norway. And the first pure nickel coin was made in 1881 . In 1889, James Riley proposed that nickel could be used to strengthen steels products. In 1883, large deposits of nickel were found in Sudbury Basin in Canada, and then later in Russia, Merensky Reef, and South Africa.
|Periodic Table Classification||Group 10
|State at 20C||Solid|
|Color||Silver with a gold tinge|
|Electron Configuration||[Ar] 3d8 4s2|
|Electron Shell||2, 8, 16, 2 or 2, 8, 17, 1|
|Density||8.9 g.cm-3 at 20°C|
|Atomic Mass||58.69 g.mol -1|
|Electronegativity according to Pauling||1.91|
Nickel is present in the earth’s crust and in the inner cores. . It is the is fifth most abundant element of earth crust. It is main constituent of meteorites and siderites . Nickel most commonly occur in the form of ores, in combination with sulfur andiron in pentlandite (iron nickel sulfide), with arsenic and sulfur in nickel galena. Bulk quantity of nickel is present in two types of ores: laterite, in which mineral mixture is nickeliferous limonite (Fe, Ni) O(OH) and garnierite. Land based resources is about 130 million tons in which 60% is in laterites and 40% is in sulfides form . Ore deposits found in Russia, South Africa, Caledonia, Australia, Cuba, and Indonesia . China is the largest producer of nickel in the world.
Nickel is a silvery white hard metal. It is soft and ductile in nature. Nickel is ferromagnetic and a fair conductor of heat and electricity. Its symbol is ‘’Ni’’ and its atomic number is 28. Its atomic weight is 58.69. Nickel curie temperature is 355°C, which means above this temperature nickel becomes non-magnetic. Its density is 8.90 g/cm3 at 250C. Nickel belongs to transition metals in periodic table.
In combination with iron, nickel is stable. Elemental nickel strongly reacts with oxygen, especially in powder form due to increased surface area. In large pieces of nickel, the reaction with oxygen is slow due to formation of oxides layer which prevent corrosion. This property provides strengthen and resistant to carrion in metal alloys and is helpful to be shaped into wire, rods, tubes and sheets. Nickel is resistant to actions of alkalis, and slowly react with strong acids and liberate hydrogen and forms Ni2+ ions. It exhibits oxidation states of -1, 0, +2, +3 and +4, and +2 is most common . Ni(I) complexes are very uncommon. They are important for nickel containing enzymes, such as enzymes which catalyze reversible reduction of proton. Ni2+ forms many complexes which have industrial application, for instance nickel chloride, nickel nitrate and nickel sulfamate are used in electroplating baths as well as for preparation of catalyst and textile printing. Nickel ferrites is used for making magnetic core in transformers. Most compounds occur in nature are in combination with arsenic, antimony and sulfur. Nickel with zero oxidation state is carrier of carbon monoxide and is used in the preparation of plastics. Nickel with three oxidation state forms oxide hydroxide and is used as cathode in rechargeable batteries, Ni (IV) is rare oxidation state of nickel form very few compounds.
Significance and Uses
- Nickel used in making of stainless steel and corrosion resistant alloys.
- Copper- nickel alloys used in desalination plants for converting sea water into fresh water.
- Nickel is used in the manufacturing of glass with greenish tint.
- It is widely used as a catalyst for hydrogenation of vegetable oils to make vegetable ghee.
- Nickel is used in ceramics industry.
- Nickle is widely used as decorative silver
- As foam used in gas diffusion electrodes
- Nickel used in nickel-cadmium batteries and nickel metal hydride batteries that are used in hybrid cars.
- Nichrome (nickel chromium) resists corrosion and is used in the making of toaster and electric ovens.
- Nickel is used in making burglar proof vaults.
- Nickel can tolerate temperature up to 1000 °C so it is useful in high performance jet engines.
- It is used as additive in manufacturing of cast iron and steel.
- It is also used in pendulum rods, weighing machines and measuring devices.
- Nickel is used in petroleum industry as a catalyst and intermediate in metallurgical industry.
Most common health effect of nickel is contact allergic dermatitis. Women are more sensitive than men. Nickel toxicity is primarily an occupational hazard, as worker exposed to nickel become sensitive and develop asthma, chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, lung cancer and nasal sinus. Nickel allergy is caused due to direct contact of earrings, coins, cellphones and glass frames. Nickel is essential for growth in plants. In the absence of nickel, bean plants produced deformed leaflet tips. Nickel is helpful in breakdown of urea at certain stage in the growth cycle of plants.
Isotopes of Nickel
There are thirty-five isotopes of nickel which range in atomic weight from 48Ni to 78Ni. Nickel has five stable isotopes (nickel-58, nickel-60, nickel-61, nickel-62 and nickel-64) and rest are unstable. 58Ni is most abundant isotopes (68.0775%).