DENSITY : 8.9 g/cm
MOST COMMON IONS : Ni 2+ , Ni 3+ , Ni 4+

Nickel is a silver-white, lustrous metal . It was first isolated by Swedish chemist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt in 1751. Cronstedt had been attempting to isolate copper from a mineral called niccolite (the German word kupfer-nickel means "Devil's copper" or "Old Nick's copper"). He instead found nickel, which he named after the mineral.

The abundance of nickel in Earth's crust is 90 parts per million (ppm); in ocean water, its abundance is 2 parts per billion (ppb). In meteorites, however, its abundance approaches 13,000 ppm. Much of the world's supply of nickel is found in Ontario, Canada, where it is isolated from the ores pentlandite and pyrrhotite. Other large deposits are found in Australia, New Caledonia, Cuba, Indonesia, and Greenland.

The most common isotope of nickel is 58 Ni, which has a natural abundance of 68.1 percent. Other stable isotopes include 60 Ni (26.2%), 61 Ni (1.1%), 62 Ni (3.6%), and 64 Ni (0.9%). Important nickel compounds include nickel oxides (NiO and Ni 2 O 3 ), nickel sulfides (NiS, NiS 2 , Ni 3 S 2 ), and nickel chloride (NiCl 2 ).

Nickel metal is malleable, ductile , and a fairly good conductor of electricity and heat. Its most common use is in stainless steels, where it may be combined with various other metals (such as iron, chromium, chromium, copper, etc.) to form alloys that are highly resistant to corrosion. Nickel is also used to make coins (U.S. five-cent pieces contain 25 percent nickel), batteries, magnets, and jewelry; to protectively coat other metals; and to color glass and ceramics green.

SEE ALSO Coordination Compounds ; Inorganic Chemistry .

Stephanie Dionne Sherk


Lide, David R., ed. (2003). The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 84th edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Other Resources

Winter, Mark "Nickel." The University of Sheffield and WebElements Ltd., U.K. Available from .

Also read article about Nickel from Wikipedia

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