All About Nickel

Is Nickel A Natural Element? All About Nickel and Its Everyday Uses

As part of my charity work for Project Sprouts, we were guests at a Nickel Mine in Son La, Vietnam. The nickel mine is our partner in helping us to distribute charity goods to children and schools in this area. While I was at the mine, I saw some of the nickel they had brought out of the ground.

Nickel is a natural element as it is found in nature. It is a hard yet malleable and ductile metal with a shiny silver color with a slight gold tinge. Nickel is found mainly in Russia, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and some parts of China and Vietnam.

For Home Decor manufacturing, Nickel is used for producing stainless steel. Since we use so much stainless steel in the home decor industry – for hardware, accessories, lamp and lighting parts, furniture, and other things – it is important to understand the natural material of nickel.

Is Nickel A Natural Element?

Nickel is a natural element that has the symbol Ni and the atomic or proton number 28. Nickel is a natural element, but it must be processed to be used into an end product like other natural elements.

Nickel is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a light gold cast to it. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is also known to be hard and ductile.

Nickel is the 5th most abundant element on earth, but it is 100 times more concentrated below the Earth’s crust than on the earth’s crust. Nickel is thought to be the 2nd most abundant natural element in the earth’s inner core.

Nickel as a natural element is found and mined mainly in Australia, South Africa, Canada, and Russia. Recently China has also started to produce nickel as they have such a huge need for stainless steel; China is making a lot of this nickel from laterite ore.

Over 30% of the world’s nickel is mined at the Sudbury Basin in Canada. You will notice that missing off the list of actively mining nickel is America; the United States is not listed as a major player in the nickel mining market.

Nickel is naturally found in two type of locations as follows:

  • Laterite Deposit – Laterite deposits result from intensive weathering of the surface of nickel-rich rocks and magmatic sulfide deposits. This is where most nickel around the world is found.
  • Deep-Sea Floor – The other place nickel is naturally found in the deep seafloor. Presently nickel is not mined from the ocean floor.
Raw Nickel
Natural Nickel As It Comes Out Of The Ground Before Processing

The Nickel (Natural Element) And Its Uses

Few products in the world are made of pure nickel; instead, nickel tends to play a more supportive role in many industries Nickel is usually combined with other metals for the final product.

An example of this would be stainless steel, where nickel is the topcoat on top of the steel. Nickel is commonly used as a protective outer coating for other metals.

Nickel is used as a protective coating due to its ability to withstand extremely high temperatures. Nickel is known to be one of the superalloys because it is resistant to heat, corrosion, and oxidization – this means that it is an ideal metal to use on outdoor furniture, furniture legs, hardware, and other decorative elements.

But more than that, nickel is also used a lot for specialized military equipment, aerospace, and other industrial uses. It is also the natural element that is used in our batteries and electronics.

And, of course, nickel is one of the primary metals used for coins worldwide. The chances are that most countries in the world that use coins will have some coins that are plated with nickel.

In the United States, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half dollars coins are all copper-nickel alloys. In fact, for the US currency, the US nickel coin contains almost 25% nickel, whereas the other coins as a dime, quarter, or half a dollar, only contain about 8% nickel.

The Nickel (Natural Element) And Everyday Uses

You might wonder why is the natural element of nickel important or why should we worry about nickel? One of the most interesting things is that nickel is being used a lot in batteries.

When I recently went to the nickel mine site in Vietnam, I discovered that many of the nickel they are mining would stay within Vietnam and be used in batteries for things such as electric cars and motorcycles.

This means that getting the nickel for the batteries will be very important for the new wave of battery-operated vehicles. The ability to mine the nickel to produce the batteries will become an essential part of this industry.

It also means that as we use a lot of nickel in the home decor and home furnishing industry, if there is a shortage of nickel, it will drive up the prices for things like stainless steel or some other hardware. This is why it is important when designing products for home decor and home furniture that we also understand a bit about the cost of nickel and why it fluctuates.

Nickel (Natural Element) Fun Facts

Here are some fun facts you maybe did not know about the natural element of nickel:

  • Nickle is found in things you use almost every day, like electronics and batteries.
  • A nickel allergy is one of the most common causes of allergic reactions to metal; a common cause is jewelry that contains nickel, such as white gold.
  • Can make 300 kilometers (186 miles) of a skinny wire from 1 kilogram (about 2 pounds) of nickel.
  • Switzerland produced the first coin of pure nickel in 1981.
  • Canada, the world’s largest Nickle producer, also had a 99.9% nickel coin worth five cents between 1920 to 1981.
  • Adding nickel to glass, depending on the concentration, produces blue, violet, or even black glass.
  • Using Nickle on a table leg or hardware means that it will not rust or erode.
  • Nickle is found in trace amounts naturally in most vegetables, fruits, nuts, chocolate, and wine. It is considered an essential natural element for healthy plant life.
  • If you eat or ingest too much nickel, it is harmful to human health and can cause nickel toxicity.
  • People who constantly breathe traces of nickel dust are at an increased risk for lung cancer, fibrosis, and other ailments.

If you are interested in finding out more about nickel or nickel home decor and home furnishing products, we would love to talk to you. Find out how Mondoro can help you create, develop and manufacture great home decor and home furniture products; feel free to contact me, Anita, find me at my email by clicking here or become a part of our community and joining our newsletter by clicking here.

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