What is nickel used for

Nickel is a versatile metal whose unique properties lead to its wide applications in various industries. From industrial processes to consumer products, nickel plays an important role in modern society. Let us learn about the diverse uses of nickel and its importance in various fields.

What is nickel used for

Industrial applications:

1. Stainless Steel Production:

Nickel is a key ingredient in the production of stainless steel, where it increases corrosion resistance, hardness, and durability. About 65–70% of the world's nickel production is used in stainless steel manufacturing. Nickel-rich stainless steel is used in appliances, construction, transportation, and infrastructure.


Nickel alloys are engineered materials with exceptional heat resistance, strength and corrosion resistance properties. These alloys are used in the aerospace, chemical processing and marine industries. Examples include Inconel, Monel, and Hastelloy, which are used in aircraft engines, chemical reactors, and marine equipment, respectively.

3. Electroplating:

Nickel electroplating is a common surface finishing technique used to enhance the appearance, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance of various metals and plastics. It is used extensively in automotive, electronics and decorative applications.

Consumer Products:

1. Batteries:

Nickel is an essential component in rechargeable batteries, including nickel-cadmium (NiCd), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), and lithium-ion batteries. These batteries provide power to many devices like smartphones, laptops, power tools and electric vehicles.


Nickel is widely used in coin making due to its durability, corrosion resistance and attractive appearance. In many countries, nickel is mixed with copper to make coins of different denominations.

3. Utensils:

Nickel-rich stainless steel is a popular choice for kitchen utensils and cookware due to its hygienic properties, resistance to stains, and ease of cleaning. Pots, pans, cutlery and appliances often contain nickel alloys.

Other applications:

1. Catalyst:

Nickel catalysts are used in a variety of chemical processes, including hydrogenation, reforming, and synthesis of organic compounds. These catalysts facilitate reactions in industries such as petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, and food processing.

2. Electronics:

Nickel is used in electronic components and connectors because of its conductivity, magnetic properties, and corrosion resistance. It is found in sensors, actuators, connectors, and magnetic storage devices.

3. Medical Devices:

Nickel-based alloys are used in medical implants and devices due to their biocompatibility, corrosion resistance, and mechanical strength. Examples include orthopedic implants, dental appliances, and surgical instruments.

Environmental matters:

While nickel offers many benefits, its extraction, processing, and disposal can have environmental impacts. Nickel mining and refining processes can generate air and water pollutants, which can lead to environmental degradation if not properly managed. Additionally, exposure to nickel compounds can pose health risks to workers and communities.

Efforts are underway to improve the sustainability of nickel production through technological advancements, recycling initiatives and the adoption of cleaner practices.

Nickel is a versatile metal that has countless applications in industries ranging from stainless steel production to consumer electronics. Its unique properties make it indispensable in modern manufacturing, infrastructure and everyday products. As technology develops and environmental concerns become more prominent, responsible use and management of nickel resources will be important for sustainable development.