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Element Fact
Carbon, oxygen, ntrogen and hydrogen are the most abundant elements in all living matter. These elements form the basis of the amino acids that made up protein molecules.

Nickel, Ni

nickel sample

Atomic number: 28
Atomic mass: 58.6934(2)
Natural abundance: 99 ppm
58Ni (57.935348) - 68.077%
60Ni (59.930791) - 26.223%
61Ni (60.931060) - 1.14%
62Ni (61.928349) - 3.634%
64Ni (63.927970) - 0.926%

History and Production

From German Nickel, Satan or Old Nick's and from kupfernickel, Old Nick's copper. The name was derived due to the Saxon miners' inability to extract copper from the reddish-colored ore niccolite (NiAs), which resembles in appearance to that of red Cu2O. They blamed this was due to the work of the devil. The metal was first isolate, in impure form, from the ore niccolite ("Kupfernickel") by A.F. Cronstedt in 1751. It can be extracted from ores such as pentlandite and pyrrhotite in Sudbury, Ontario. It is thougth that the large deposits in the region is due to an ancient meteorite impact. Other metals that are also extracted from this region are gold, silver, copper, cobalt etc. Extraction of the metal varies wildly depends on the types of ores. The metal has found much of its use in stainless steel and other corrosion-resistant alloys (InvarŽ, MonelŽ and so on). For example, copper-nickel alloy is used in desalination plants. Nickel is also used in coinage and nickel steel for armor plates and vaults. The metal is also used in electroplating to provide a protective layer for other metals such as chromium.

Physical Data

Nickel is hard, silvery white in appearance. It is also malleable and ductile. However, the ferromagnetic behavior is much less so than iron and cobalt. The metal is rather widely distributed on Earth. The priciple ores are such as pentlandite ((Ni,Fe)9S8) and nickeliferous limonite ((Fe,Ni)O(OH).nH2O).

Interatomic distance: 249.2 pm
Melting point: 1455°C
Boiling point: 2913°C
Thermal conductivity/Wm-1K-1: 90.7 (27°C)
Density/kgm-3: 8902 (20°C), 7780 (m.p.)

Standard Thermodynamic Data (atomic gas)

Enthalpy of formation: 429.7 kJ/mol
Gibbs free energy of formation: 384.5 kJ/mol
Entropy: 182.2 J/mol K
Heat capacity: 23.4 J/mol K

Electronic data

Electronic configuration: [Ar] 3d8 4s2
Term symbol: 3F4
Electron affinity: 111.5371 kJ/mol   Electronegativity (Pauline): 1.91
Ionization energy (first, second, third): 737.129, 1753.03, 3395.32 kJ/mol

Chemical properties

Nickel is resistant to attack by aqueous caustic alkali (such as NaOH) and hence find its use in producing strong alkaline hydroxides. It reacts slowly with sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid but more rapidly with dilute HNO3. In addition, nickel also reacts slowly with fluorine than most other metals.

Test for nickel(II) ion:
(1) Gives brown in borax bead test.
(2) Form green precipitate with hydroxides, soluble in excess ammonia.
(3) Form a scarlet precipitate with dimethylglyoxime.
(4) With potassium cyanide, a greenish-yellow precipitate, dissolving in excess to form a brown solution.

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