BS Fixings

Essential Elements: Know your Nickel

Choosing the right grade of stainless steel can make the difference between a failed project and a successful one. Common grades of stainless steel are 304 and 316: these grades contain nickel, an essential element of manufacture. Here are some facts about the remarkable material...

  • The German word 'kupfernickel' (meaning 'copper devil'  is where we get the English word 'nickel' from
  • Nickel is the fifth most-abundant element on Earth. Unfortunately, most of it is too deep underground for us to get to!
  • A white to silver metal, nickel has a particularly high melting-point well over 1,400ÂșC
  • Nickel is very ductile and resists corrosion strongly, qualities which make it essential to the production of stainless steel
  • At ordinary temperatures, nickel is magnetic and alloys readily with other metals
  • Estimates vary but at least 300,000 products across the spectrum of industry and commerce use nickel in one form or another; the majority (65%) is used to create alloys such as stainless steel
  • Like iron, nickel is an integral part of life on our planet and is essential to the healthy growth of plants. It can be found in most fruits, vegetable and nuts
  • Though the word 'nickel' is used colloquially to refer to a 5-cent coin in the USA, such coins only contain up to a quarter of the element. This is due to its value continuing to rise as we use ever more stainless steel and other alloys in our modern lives

Though people involved with the stainless steel industry will have a working knowledge of metal grades, if you're simply wanting to carry out a DIY project then the grading system can be a little intimidating. That's why we offer a comprehensive technical support service to help you; check out our online library or just get in touch!

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