Nickel is silvery white metal that takes on a high polish. It belongs to the Iron group, and is hard, malleable, and ductile. It occurs combined with Sulfur in millerite, with arsenic in the mineral niccolite, and with Arsenic and Sulfur in Nickel glance.
On account of its permanence in air and inertness to oxidation, it is used in the smaller coins, for plating iron, brass, etc., for chemical apparatus, and in certain alloys, as German silver. It is magnetic, and is very frequently accompanied by cobalt, both being found in meteoric iron. It is chiefly valuable for the alloys it forms.
Nickel is one of the five ferromagnetic elements. The most common oxidation state of nickel is +2, though 0, +1 and +3 Ni complexes are observed.


About 65 percent of the Nickel consumed in the Western World is used to make austenitic stainless steel. Another 12 percent goes into super alloys. The remaining 23% of consumption is divided between alloy steels, rechargeable batteries, catalysts and other chemicals, coinage, foundry products, and plating. The largest consumer of nickel is Japan, which uses approximately 169,600 tonnes per year.

Applications include:

  1. Stainless steel and other corrosion-resistant alloys.
  2. Nickel steel is used for armor plates and burglar-proof vaults.
  3. The alloy Alnico is used in magnets.
  4. Mu-metal has an especially high magnetic permeability, and is used to screen magnetic fields.
  5. Monel metal is a copper-nickel alloy highly resistant to corrosion, used for ship propellers, kitchen supplies, and chemical industry plumbing.
  6. Smart wire, or shape memory alloys, are used in robotics.
  7. Rechargeable batteries, such as nickel metal hydride batteries and nickel cadmium batteries.
  8. In electroplating.
  9. In crucibles for chemical laboratories.