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What is nickel used for?

This strong, lustrous, silvery-white metal probably plays a more important part in our lives than many people realise. From the batteries that power our devices to the stainless-steel sink in our kitchen, all would be impossible without nickel. So let’s have a look at some of its uses.
Stainless steel

It is estimated that around 65% of all Nickel goes into stainless steel production. Stainless steel has a high resistance to corrosion and rust, making it ideal for use in domestic and medical environments. The easy-to-clean surface has made it a favourite for cutlery as well as the kitchen sink.

It is not just in the home that stainless steel has found favour. Water treatment plants and pumping stations make extensive use of it, as do gas and oil pipelines. Stainless steel tanks and containers are also widely used in the catering and brewing sector.

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Another important use of nickel is in the production of batteries. Nickel-cadmium batteries were once the most common type of rechargeable battery, but they have largely been replaced by nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are used in everything from mobile phones and laptops to electric cars and solar panels.

A detailed analysis of how nickel is used in batteries can be found here:  As the technology of renewables gathers pace, we can be sure nickel will play its part.

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Industrial uses

Nickel can be used as a coating on such products as glass to reduce glare and improve its insulation properties. Nickel composites are also used to coat substrates, adding such benefits as extra durability or a non-stick coating for example. A range of nickel composite coatings and their benefits can be seen here:

While nickel has many useful applications, it is important to note that it can also be harmful to humans in certain forms. Nickel dust and fumes can be toxic if inhaled, and prolonged exposure can cause skin irritation or lung cancer. It is therefore essential to be aware of the risks and to take the appropriate precautions when working with nickel.

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