Name:Nickel Symbol:Ni
Type:Transition Metal Atomic weight:58.69
Density @ 293 K:8.91 g/cm3 Atomic volume: 6.59 cm3/mol

Nickel has been used since ancient times. Pure nickel was extracted by Axel Cronstedt from the ore niccolite (nickel arsenide, NiAs) in 1751. The element name comes from comes from the German word 'kupfernickel' meaning Devil's copper.


State (s, l, g):solid
Melting point: 1728 K (1455 °C) Boiling point:3263 K (2990 °C)


Specific heat capacity:0.44 J g-1 K-1 Heat of atomization:430 kJ mol-1
Heat of fusion:17.48 kJ mol-1 Heat of vaporization :377.5 kJ mol-1
1st ionization energy:736.7 kJ mol-1 2nd ionization energy:1752.9 kJ mol-1
3rd ionization energy:3393.4 kJ mol-1 Electron affinity:111.5 kJ mol-1

Oxidation & Electrons

Shells:2,8,16,2 Electron configuration:[Ar] 3d8 4s2
Minimum oxidation number: -1 Maximum oxidation number:4
Min. common oxidation no.:0 Max. common oxidation no.:2
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale):1.91 Polarizability volume: 6.8 Å3

Appearance & Characteristics

Structure:fcc: face-centered cubic Color:silvery-white
Hardness:4.0 mohs
Harmful effects:

Nickel and its compounds are considered to be carcinogenic. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of people are sensitive to nickel. Repeated contact with it leads to skin complaints (dermatitis). Such people should avoid contact with nickel, which can be found in jewelry. Workers who have breathed very large amounts of nickel compounds have developed chronic bronchitis and lung and nasal cancers. Nickel carbonyl is a very toxic gas.


Nickel is a hard, silvery-white metal, which is malleable and ductile. The metal can take on a high polish and it resists tarnishing in air.

Nickel is ferromagnetic and is a fair conductor of heat and electricity.

Most nickel compounds are blue or green.


Nickel is used in corrosion-resistant alloys, such as stainless steel. (Stainless steel is the application in which most nickel is used.)

Tubing made from a copper-nickel alloy is used in desalination plants. This alloy is naturally resistant to corrosion by seawater and to biofouling.

Many coins contain nickel.

Nickel steel is used for burglar-proof vaults and armour plate.

Nickel is also used in batteries - for example NiCd (nickel-cadmium) rechargeable batteries - and in magnets.


Reaction with air:mild, w/ht ⇒ NiO Reaction with 6 M HCl:mild, ⇒ H2, NiCl2
Reaction with 15 M HNO3:passivated Reaction with 6 M NaOH:none


Oxide(s):NiO, Ni2O3 Chloride(s): NiCl2


Atomic radius:135 pm Ionic radius (1+ ion):pm
Ionic radius (2+ ion):83 pm Ionic radius (3+ ion):72 pm
Ionic radius (2- ion):pm Ionic radius (1- ion):pm


Thermal conductivity:90.9 W m-1 K-1 Electrical conductivity: 0.146 x 106 S cm-1

Abundance & Isotopes

Abundance earth's crust:84 parts per million by weight, 30 parts per million by moles
Abundance solar system:80 parts per million by weight, 2 parts per million by moles
Cost, pure: $7.7 per 100g
Cost, bulk:$1.9 per 100g

Nickel occurs occasionally free in nature but is mainly found in ores. Its chief ores are pentlandite and pyrrhotite (nickel-iron sulfides), garnierite (nickel-magnesium silicate), millerite (nickel sulfide) and niccolite (nickel arsenic). Nickel is taken from its ores by roasting and reduction processes which produce a metal of over 75% purity. The Mond process is then used to purify the nickel further.


Nickel has 23 isotopes whose half-lives are known, with mass numbers 52 to 76. Of these, five are stable, 58Ni, 60Ni, 61Ni, 62Ni and 64Ni. The most abundant isotope is 58Ni at 68.1% .




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