Nickel is classified as a transition metal. People have been using this metal for over 5,000 years. Nickel, together with other ores, was used to make bronze alloys. In China at that time it was already known as white copper.

Pallasite | nickel-iron meteorite with olivine crystals

Nickel is mainly used as an alloying element for stainless steels. It is also added to case-hardening steels, heat-treatable steels and cryogenic steels to significantly increase their ductility. However, it is also used as a coating metal for the refinement of metal objects.

Der Einfluss von Nickel auf die mechanischen Eigenschaften von Stahl:

Property Influence (1) Degree (1) Influence (2) Degree (2)
Rust resistance no bearing 0 Improvement + 2
Hardness Improvement + 1 Decrease - 2
Strength Improvement + 1 Improvement + 1
Yield strength Improvement + 1 Decrease - 1
Elasticity no bearing 0 no bearing 0
Heat resistance Improvement + 1 Improvement + 3
Carbide formation no bearing 0 no bearing 0
Wear resistance Decrease - 2 no bearing 0
Nitratability no bearing 0 no bearing 0
Strain no bearing 0 Improvement + 3
Reduction of area no bearing 0 Improvement + 2
Notched Impact Strength no bearing 0 Improvement + 3
Forgeability Decrease - 1 Decrease - 3
Scaling Decrease - 1 Decrease - 2
Machinability Decrease - 1 Decrease - 3
(1) for pearlitic steels
(2) for austenitic steels


The student of the great Swedish chemist Brandt, Axel Frederic Cronstedt, received a silver-white metal in an attempt to extract copper from an ore. He named it nickel after the mountain ghost copper-nickel. In the Middle Ages, miners believed this ore to be bewitched, because it looked like copper but did not deliver any.

See also


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Here you can find out why aluminium was discovered so late and how aluminium can be produced.

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The carbon concentration influences the hardness of steels. In this way, the right steel can be found for every application.

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