Q:

Where does nickel come from?

A:

Quick Answer

Nickel is found in meteorites but also comes from the silicon-burning process in a Type 1a supernova. This happens when a red giant blows off shells of its material to become a white dwarf star. The white dwarf star then collapses in on itself and explodes.

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Full Answer

Nickel is a hard, lustrous, silvery white metal. It is resistant to rust and tarnish. Its atomic number is 28, and it is one of the few ferromagnetic metals found. It conducts electricity and heat fairly well and can be hammered into different shapes and pulled into thin wire.

Because it's so resistant to corrosion, nickel is often used in electroplating. It's also used to make batteries such as the nickel-cadmium battery. It's also used as a catalyst in chemical reactions. Because the nickel isn't changed during these reactions, it can be used repeatedly.

Nickel is also very popular as an alloy for iron and steel. It makes iron more ductile and rust-resistant and makes steel more impact resistant. An alloy of nickel, iron and other metals called invar is valued because it neither expands nor contracts much with changes in temperature.

Nickel is also famous for being used as the 5-cent piece in the United States. However, the coin called nickel has only 25 percent of the element.

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