Nickel metal is valued for its properties of high resistance to corrosion and heat. The corrosion resistance and cleanability it imparts to stainless steel, makes the latter the material of choice for the food processing industry, for ensuring clean and hygienic surfaces.
Around 85% of nickel is consumed in the production of metal alloys. Included in the latter is stainless steel, the largest application at around 65%. In addition, nickel is used in other alloys accounting for 20% of nickel consumption. This category includes the high-alloy steel and super alloys, the latter of which are required for high performance, demanding applications. Nickel plating consumes around 9% of nickel. The remaining 6% of consumption is used in other applications including castings, electronic components, coins, batteries, catalysts and electrodes.
The broad-based uses of stainless steel and nickel alloys means that nickel can be found in a variety of end-uses including various engineering applications, construction metals goods, transportation and electronics.