Two of the most common grades of stainless steel are 316 and 304. Both of these grades contain the element nickel as an essential component of their manufacture, but how much do you know about this crucial metal? Here are 10 facts to get you started...

  1. The word 'nickel' is a contraction of the German 'Kupfernickel', which means 'copper devil'
  2. There is an abundance on nickel to be found on Earth, as it is the fifth most common element on our planet. Unfortunately, a huge majority of it is so deep underground that it is impossible or financially-inefficient to get at
  3. Nickel is a white/silver metal that has a melting point of over 1,400ºC. It is a particularly ductile metal which exhibits strong resistance to corrosion
  4. At ordinary temperatures, nickel is a magnetic substance
  5. It is hard to put a number on the amount of products and processes that use nickel but a conservative estimate is 300,000
  6. The majority of nickel (around 65%) is used to create stainless steel
  7. Nickel alloys easily with other metals
  8. Alongside iron and magnesium, nickel is integral to life on earth and is found in many nuts, vegetables and fruits
  9. A 'nickel' is a colloquial name for a 5-cent coin in the US, though less than a quarter of each coin is made from it due to its high value
  10. As nickel is essential to making grade 304 and 316 stainless steel, its constantly changing market price has a direct effect on the final cost of stainless steel materials and components

For people not directly involved with the stainless steel industry, the grading system can be confusing. That's why BS Fixings offer expert technical support and an online library of resources to help. Check out the library today and get in touch with us for further advice, information and technical support.