Nickel was named from the German word Nickel this means "Old Nick," a name for the devil. Also from the German word for the mineral niccolite, kupfernickel, which means "Old Nick's copper.".
Nickel was discovered by Constedt in 1751 in Kupfernickel. Nickel is found as a constituent in most meteorites and often serves as one of the criteria for distinguishing a meteorite from other minerals. Nickel is obtained commercially from pentlandite and pyrrhotite of the Sudbury region in Ontario, which produces about 30% for the free world. Nickel is silvery white and takes on a high polish, it is also hard, malleable, ductile, and somewhat ferromagnetic. Tubing made of copper-nickel alloy is extensively used in making desalination plants. Nickel is also used in making coins and steel for armor plate and also for burglar-proof vaults. Today, most nickel is obtained from the mineral pentlandite (NiS
•2FeS). Most of the world's supply of nickel is mined in the Sudbury region of Ontario, Canada. It is believed that this large deposit of nickel ore is a result of an ancient meteor impact.
Nickel is a hard, corrosion resistant metal. It can be electroplated onto other metals to form a protective coating. Finely divided nickel is used as a catalyst for the hydrogenation of vegetable oils. Adding nickel to glass gives it a green color. A single kilogram of nickel can be drawn into 300 kilometers of wire. Nickel is also used to manufacture some types of coins and batteries.
Nickel is alloyed with other metals to improve their strength and resistance to corrosion. Nickel is alloyed with steel to make armor plate, vaults and machine parts. It is alloyed with copper to make pipes that are used in desalination plants. Very powerful permanent magnets, known as Alnico magnets, can be made from an alloy of aluminum, nickel, cobalt and iron. .