Nickel mining like its 1864

Richard (Rick) Mills
0 Comments|November 19, 2012

Because of the lack of new nickel sulfide discoveries, miners are shifting to more geo-politically challenged locations.

Because of the lack of new nickel sulfide discoveries, miners are shifting to more geo-politically challenged locations.

 

Nickel is present in over 3000 different alloys that are used in over 300,000 products for consumer, industrial, military, transport/aerospace, marine and architectural applications.

 

Nickel’s biggest use, about 65%, is in alloying - particularly with chromium and other metals to produce stainless and heat-resisting steels. Its primary function is to stabilize the austenitic (face-centered cubic crystal) structure of the steel. Normal carbon steel will, on cooling, transform from an austenite structure to a mixture of ferrite and cementite.

 

When added to stainless steel nickel stops this transformation keeping the material fully austenite on cooling. Austenitic stainless steels have high ductility, low yield stress and high tensile strength when compared to carbon steel - aluminum and copper are examples of other metals with the austenitic structure.

 

Another 20% is used in other steels, non-ferrous alloys (mixed with metals other than steel) and super alloys (metal mixtures designed to withstand extremely high temperatures and/or pressures or have high electrical conductivity) often for highly specialized industrial, aerospace and military applications.

 

About 9% is used in plating to slow down corrosion and 6% for other uses, including coins, electronics, in *batteries for portable equipment and hybrid cars, as a catalyst for certain chemical reactions and as a colorant - nickel is added to glass to give it a green color. In many of these applications there is no substitute for nickel without reducing performance or increasing cost.

 
*Rechargeable nickel-hydride batteries are used for cellular phones, video cameras, and other electronic devices. Nickel-cadmium batteries are used to power cordless tools and appliances.

 

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has funded a variety of programs designed to encourage more rapid development of renewable energy sources. Specific research and development projects included:

  • domestic manufacturing of advanced batteries

  • development of improved stationary and portable fuel cell power systems

  • development of commercial scale bio-refineries

  • improved design of molten salt storage facilities at power plants that concentrate solar energy

  • design and evaluation of parabolic troughs, dishes, and heliostats for solar power stations

  • construction of demonstration facilities designed to recover and better utilize geothermal energy 

 

All of these expanding subsectors for generating power have the potential to be important users of nickel metal and or nickel-bearing alloys.

 

To view the rest of this article, please click on the link:

http://aheadoftheherd.com/Newsletter/2012/Nickel-Mining-Like-its-1864.htm


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