Nickel is a silvery shining white metal having extremely good response to polish. The most important nickel’s ore is iron sulphides which contain about 3% of nickel. About 90% of the total production of nickel is obtained by this source. This ore is mainly found in Canada and Norway.
The ore of Nickel is initially roasted to reduce the sulphur content and then smelted to separate the gangue from it. Matte (impure product of the smelting of sulphide ore especially those of nickel or copper, is known as matte) delivered by the smelting furnace is then put in a Bessemer converter to oxidize the iron. The iron oxide thus combines with a limestone and quartz and form the slag. The Bessemer’s matte consists chiefly of copper and nickel sulphides.
Nickel is as hard as steel. It possesses good heat resistance. It is tough and having good corrosion resistance. Its melting point is 1452°C and specific gravity is 0.85. At normal temperature, nickel is paramagnetic. Nickel alloys are sometimes used for their high potential field strengths, some for their permeability and some for their high coercive force. When it contains small amount of carbon, it is quite malleable. It is somewhat less ductile than soft steel, but small amount of magnesium improves ductility considerably.
Nickel is used in kitchen utensils and appliances, and in laundry and dairy machinery. It is extensively useful for electroplating plating work for protecting surfaces of iron and brass from corrosion. It is also utilized as an important alloying element in some type of cast iron and steel. It is helpful for making stainless steel. Its alloys are discussed as under.
Reference Introduction to basic Manufacturing Processes and Workshop Technology by Rajender Singh.
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