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The use of nickel ore in daily life

Nickel is a ferromagnetic element, ranking as the fifth most abundant element on Earth after silicon, oxygen, iron, and magnesium. It has the highest concentration in the Earth’s core, where it exists as a natural nickel-iron alloy. In the Earth’s crust, nickel is more abundant in ferromagnesian rocks compared to silicic rocks. For instance, olivine-rich rocks have nickel concentrations 1000 times higher than granite, and gabbro has about 80 times more nickel than granite.

Nickel is a silver-white metal known for its excellent mechanical strength, ductility, heat resistance, and high chemical stability. It does not oxidize in the air, making it a crucial raw material for producing stainless steel, high-nickel alloy steel, and alloy structural steel.

Uses of Nickel:

  1. In the military manufacturing industry, nickel is extensively used in various sectors such as aircraft, radar systems, missiles, tanks, ships, spacecraft, and nuclear reactors.
  2. In civil industries, nickel is commonly processed into structural steel, acid-resistant steel, heat-resistant steel, and finds widespread applications in various mechanical manufacturing sectors.
  3. Nickel is also employed as ceramic pigments and corrosion-resistant coatings.
  4. Nickel-cobalt alloys serve as permanent magnetic materials and find wide applications in electronic remote control, atomic energy industry, and ultrasonic technology.
  5. In the chemical industry, nickel is frequently used as a hydrogenation catalyst.

In summary, due to its exceptional properties, nickel has become an indispensable metal for the development of modern aerospace, national defense industries, and the establishment of a high-level material and cultural life for humanity.

Currently, nickel laterite ores are mainly processed through direct smelting methods, which can be broadly categorized into two classes: wet and pyrometallurgical methods:

Wet Method 1: Primary oxidized nickel ore (high-pressure leaching with sulfuric acid) → Nickel sulfate (precipitated with hydrogen sulfide) → Nickel sulfide.

Wet Method 2: Primary oxidized nickel ore (reduction roasting) → Nickel-iron alloy structure in the ore (treated with ammonium carbonate solution) → Nickel hexammine complex (rotary kiln drying and calcination) → Nickel oxide powder (reduction reaction) → Metallic nickel.

Pyrometallurgical Method 1: Primary oxidized nickel ore (rotary kiln drying, electric furnace smelting) → Nickel-iron.

Pyrometallurgical Method 2: Primary oxidized nickel ore (sintering machine sintering, blast furnace smelting) → Nickel-iron alloy. Nickel mining

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