The name nickel for the chemical element comes from a German word Nickel, meaning Satan or the Devil.
The five cent coins of Canada and the United States are known as nickels, even though the coins contain only small amounts of nickel and are in fact mostly made of copper.
Nitinol, which is made from 55 percent nickel and 45 percent titanium, is also known as memory metal. Bend a length of nnitinol into a shape, heat and the cool it, and it will always remember and bounce back into that shape. Great for spectacle frames!
Another nickel alloy is invar, which doesn’t expand when heated, as well as nickel chromium which is used in toaster elements.
Nickel is often used in batteries and has important biological roles, says Professor Allan Blackman at AUT.
The Elemental podcast is celebrating 150 years since the periodic table was first published by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev.
Find out more about events during the United Nation’s International Year of the Periodic Table.
Professor Allan Blackman is at Auckland University of Technology.