What is the chemical formula for nickel

Name, symbol, atomic number Nickel, Ni, 28
seriesTransition metals
Group, period, block10, 4, d
Look shiny, metallic, silvery
Mass fraction of the earth's envelope 0,01 %
Atomic mass 58.6934 u
Atomic radius (calculated) 135 (149) pm
Covalent radius 121 pm
Van der Waals radius 163 pm
Electron configuration [Ar] 4s23d8
Electrons per energy level 2, 8, 16, 2
Work function 5.01-5.2 eV
1. Ionization energy 737.1 kJ / mol
2. Ionization energy 1753 kJ / mol
3. Ionization energy 3395 kJ / mol
4. Ionization energy 5300 kJ / mol
Physical state firmly
Crystal structure Cubic area-centered
density 8.908 g / cm3
Mohs hardness 3,8
magnetism ferromagnetic
Melting point 1728 K (1455 ° C)
boiling point 3186 K (2913 ° C)
Molar volume 6,59 · 10−6 m3/ mol
Heat of evaporation 370.4 kJ / mol
Heat of fusion 17.47 kJ / mol
Vapor pressure

237 Pa at 1726 K

Speed ​​of sound 4970 m / s at 293.15 K.
Specific heat capacity 440 J / (kg K)
Electric conductivity 14,3 · 106S / m
Thermal conductivity 90.7 W / (m K)
Oxidation states2, less often −1, 0, 1, 3, 4
Oxides (basicity) NiO, Ni2O3 (slightly basic)
Normal potential −0.257 V (Ni2+ + 2e → Ni)
Electronegativity 1.91 (Pauling scale)
isotopeNHt1/2ZMZE MeVZP


6,077 dε2,13656Co


35.60 hε3,26457Co

68,077 %



76000 aε1,07259Co

26,233 %


1,14 %


3,634 %



100.1 aβ2,13763Cu

0,926 %



2.5172 hβ2,13765Cu


54.6 hβ0,22566Cu
NMR properties
  Spinγ in
rad · T−1· S−1
E. fL. at
W = 4.7 T
in MHz
61Ni −3/2 2,39 · 107 0,00357 17,9
safety instructions
Hazardous substance labeling
from RL 67/548 / EEC, Appendix I.
R and S phrases R: 40-43
S: (2-) 22-36
As far as possible and customary, SI units are used.
Unless otherwise noted, the data given apply to standard conditions.

nickel is a chemical element with the symbol Ni and the atomic number 28. The name nickel derives from an earth spirit. This legend comes from the fact that nickel ores (similar to cobalt ores) were not usable in the Middle Ages. Above all, the ore nickeline (red nickel pebbles, NiAs) has a similar color to copper, but gives off a foul arsenic smell when roasted.


Nickel was used as early as 3400 BC. Used, but probably not deliberately and purposefully. Bronze from the area of ​​today's Syria contained up to 2% nickel, which was probably already contained in copper or tin ore. Chinese writings attest that in Asia "white copper" (nickel silver) was used between 1700 and 1400 BC. Was used. Nickel was first presented in pure form by Axel Frederic Cronstedt in 1751. In 1754 he named the metal nickel, derived from Swedish kopparnickel (Kupfernickel), the word for Red nickel gravel. This is what miners called the ore, which looked like copper ore, but from which no copper could be extracted, as if it had been bewitched by mountain spirits ("nickels"). A similar etymology can be found with cobalt.

The first pure nickel coin was minted in 1881.


Nickel occurs only in iron meteorites and in the earth's core. It is relatively widespread, but mostly in low concentrations. Its mass fraction in the earth's shell is approx. 0.01%. Important nickel ores are: Garnierite (Mg, Ni)3(OH))4[Si2O5], Yellow nickel pebbles NiS and red nickel pebbles NiAs. Most of the nickel production is from ores containing nickel, v. a. Nickel magnetic gravel, the chalcopyrite CuFeS2, Pentlandite (Ni, Fe)9S.8 and contains traces of precious metals. In order to be able to mine nickel economically, the nickel content of the ore must be at least 0.5%. The most important occurrences are in Canada (Sudbury Basin), New Caledonia, Russia (Norilsk and Kola Peninsula), Australia and Cuba. A common companion of nickel is cobalt.

country A thousand tons % of world production
Russia 300,7 23,4
Australia 218,0 17,0
Canada 162,8 12,7
New Caledonia 111,9 8,7
Indonesia 103,5 8
5 countries in total896,969,8
world1 284,2100,0

Extraction and presentation

Representation of the copper-nickel fine stone

The majority of nickel is obtained from iron ores containing nickel and copper, such as magnetic nickel gravel. In order to make the extraction economical, the nickel must first be enriched by flotation to a nickel content of approx. 5%. The ore is then roasted in a similar way to copper production. The ore is first roasted in order to convert part of the iron sulfide into iron oxide. Then silicates and coke are added to slag the iron oxide as iron silicate. At the same time, the raw copper-nickel stone is formed from nickel, copper and iron sulfide. Since this is specifically heavier than the iron silicate slag, the two phases can be tapped separately.

The raw stone is then placed in a converter and silicon dioxide is added. Oxygen is blown in. As a result, the remaining iron sulfide is roasted into iron oxide and then slagged. The Copper-nickel fine stone, which consists of approx. 80% copper and nickel and approx. 20% sulfur.

Extraction of raw nickel

To extract the raw nickel, the nickel must be separated from the copper. To do this, the fine stone is fused with sodium sulfide Na2S. A slightly melting double sulphide is only formed between copper and sodium sulphide. Two easy-to-separate phases of copper-sodium double sulphide (liquid) and nickel sulphide are formed. After separation, the nickel sulfide is roasted to nickel oxide and then reduced to nickel with coke.

Extraction of pure and pure nickel

In order to obtain pure nickel, the raw nickel is refined electrolytically. For this purpose, the raw nickel is connected as the anode and a thin sheet of nickel as the cathode in an electrolysis cell. A nickel salt solution is used as the electrolyte. During the electrolysis, nickel and all less noble components dissolve at the anode. All the nobler components remain solid and fall under the electrode as anode sludge. This serves as an important source for the production of precious metals such as gold or platinum. At the cathode, nickel ions are reduced from the solution to nickel, all less noble components remain in solution. The purity of electrolyte nickel is approx. 99.9%.

For the extraction of pure nickel with a purity of 99.99% there is a special process called the moon process, named after Ludwig Mond, who discovered nickel tetracarbonyl in 1890. This process is based on the formation and decomposition of nickel tetracarbonyl. For this purpose, finely divided raw nickel powder is placed in a stream of carbon monoxide at 80 ° C. Gaseous nickel tetracarbonyl is formed in the process. This is freed from fly dust and fed into a decomposition chamber heated to 180 ° C. There are small nickel balls inside. On these, the nickel tetracarbonyl decomposes again to nickel and carbon monoxide. This results in very pure nickel.