Among the materials that go to make stainless steel, nickel is arguably the most significant. Without it, stainless steel wouldn’t be…well… stainless, as the added inclusion of nickel gives it it’s corrosion resistance abilities particularly at high temperatures. With this in mind, at Metro Steel we thought it was about time we brought this under-rated metal to light, so here are 7 interesting facts about nickel you mightn’t already know.
Fact number 1 – Although nickel has been unintentionally used since around 3500 BC, 18th century miners in Germany were believed to be the first to give it a name when it was initially mistaken for copper ore. When miners found that they couldn’t extract any copper from it they blamed a mischievous German sprite called Nickel. The name has stuck ever since.
Fact Number 2 – One of the largest producers of nickel is the tiny pacific Island of New Caledonia which produces over 60,000 tons of the material every year. That’s only slightly behind Russia and Canada in the production leagues, and represents 10% of the country’s GDP.
Fact number 3 – Around 1.4 million tons of nickel are produced every year in the world. However this is a mere drop in the ocean when you consider that steel production reached around 800 million tons last year alone.
Fact number 4 – The US 5 cent coin which is often referred to as a nickel only contains around 25% nickel with copper making up the other 75%. During the war years 1942-1945 the US government removed the nickel completely to help save the metal for the war effort. Needless to say these coins are now quite rare.
Fact number 5 – The melting point of nickel is 1452°c which is more than the melting point of stainless steel itself (1363°c). Just to put this into perspective the metal with the highest melting point is tungsten which can withstand temperatures of up to 3000°c. There are reports, however, that scientists have invented a real life material which supposedly melts at 4126°c, however tests are still being carried out.
Fact number 6 – Nickel is in fact the fifth most common element on earth after oxygen, silicone, magnesium, and sulphur. It’s estimated that there are approximately 140 million tons of nickel available in identified deposits throughout the world.
At Metro Steel we fabricate and process our own steel to make a wide variety of products and equipment. If you have a metal fabrication project that you need help with, why not contact us on 07 3204 1000 and let us give you a no obligation quote. Alternatively if you’re in the deception bay area of Queensland you can always pop into our Kabi Circuit Fabrication shop for a chat.