Does Nickel Rust?

The 28th element on the Periodic Table is nickel. It is a transition metal and its colour is silvery white. It is rigid and ductile, and its chemical reactivity is well recognised. In addition, it is ferromagnetic and a good conductor of heat and electricity.

Nickel is found in ultramafic rocks and iron-nickel meteorites in the earth’s crust. The commercially significant nickel ores are pentlandite and garnierite.

Many of you may ask whether or not Nickel corrodes. This article will examine the same subject as well as its connected issues.

So, does Nickel rust? No, Nickel does not rust, as rusting is a characteristic of iron and its alloys, which produce a layer of iron oxide on the surface due to oxidation. Other metals exposed to a hostile environment may develop corrosion owing to oxidation. Nickel is very resistant to corrosion in a broad range of atmospheric circumstances, although it corrodes when exposed to harsh atmospheric conditions over an extended period of time.

Is Nickel Resistant to Corrosion?

Yes, Nickel is the most resistant metal to corrosion known. Pure Nickel is resistant to high temperatures, numerous chemicals, high humidity, and other harsh circumstances.

As a highly corrosion-resistant metal, Nickel is utilised in the production of numerous products designed for use in harsh environments.

These environments include chemical reactors, where they are exposed to a variety of severe chemicals, and ships and boats, which must withstand an array of weather conditions.

Nickel’s corrosion-resistance makes it appropriate for a wide variety of alloys, including wrought nickel, nickel-iron, nickel-chromium, and nickel-copper alloys, among others.

These alloys are extremely resistant to corrosion and can withstand harsh environments. The amount of nickel in various alloys varies based on the purpose for which they are made.

With chromium, nickel alloys are more resistant to oxidising corrosives and high temperatures, whereas iron alloys are more resistant to carburizing conditions.

Particularly, nickel inhibits the growth of pitting and crevice corrosion. In alloys such as stainless steel, Nickel’s resistance to chloride stress-corrosion cracking is particularly advantageous.

However, we must recognise that Nickel is just resistant to corrosion and not impervious. Therefore, Nickel may experience corrosion when exposed to harsh circumstances for an extended period of time, generating a nickel oxide coating.

Difference Between Rusting and Corrosion

Rusting and corrosion are both caused by the oxidation of materials, particularly metals. Unlike rust, though, corrosion is not always a terrible thing.

Below are some distinctions between rusting and corrosion.

• Corrosion is an electrochemical process, while rusting is a chemical reaction.

• Rusting is exclusive to iron and its alloys, whereas corrosion can affect other metals, wood, and even your skin (Remember some acids are known to be corrosive for skin).

• Corrosion renders a substance brittle and unstable due to the production of a loose, powdery covering of iron oxide that exposes internal material to further deterioration.

Corrosion, on the other hand, makes the material more stable by generating an outer layer of oxide that covers and shields the underlying substance from further harm.

Why can Nickel resist corrosion?

The crystal lattice structure of Nickel is largely responsible for its resistance to corrosion.

As a result of its austenitic structure or face-centered cubic lattice, nickel is an incredibly durable and ductile material. The atomic radius is 0.124 nm while the lattice parameter is 0.352 nm.

This crystal structure can sustain pressures up to 70 GPa, showing that nickel is an extremely durable material.

This also provides nickel and its alloys with outstanding durability, efficiency, and corrosion resistance.

Can Nickel Oxidize?

Yes, Nickel oxidises slowly at room temperature in the presence of oxygen.

It is known that Nickel exists in the electrical configurations [Ar] 3d8 4s2 and [Ar] 3d9 4s1. It is therefore known to exist in numerous oxidation states, including +1, +2, +3, and +4.

Pure Nickel interacts with oxygen at temperatures above 800 °C, forming Nickel Oxide according to the following chemical reaction:

2Ni + O₂ —–> 2NiO

Nickel powder is also known to burn spontaneously in the presence of air, as shown in the following chemical equation.

5Ni + 3O₂ —-> 3NiO + Ni₂O₃

Other compounds that contain Nickel in several oxidation states include Carbonyl Ni(CO)4, Nickel nitride Ni3N2, Nickel sulphate NiS, and so on.

Does Nickel Turn Green?

Nickel develops corrosion when exposed to severe environmental conditions over an extended period of time.

The reaction of Nickel with oxygen and humidity at high temperatures, excessive acidity or alkalinity, or in other extreme conditions leads in the production of a coating of nickel oxide on the metal’s surface.

This layer, known as patina, is initially reddish but gradually turns greenish over time.

Patina produces a protective coating around the surface of Nickel, preventing oxygen and moisture from penetrating the inner layers and preventing further corrosion.

Patina increases Nickel’s stability and longevity by making it resistant to further deterioration.

What exactly is nickel plating?

Nickel plating is a process that involves depositing a thin layer of Nickel onto another material.

The objective is to alter the object’s physical attributes, such as its electrical conductivity, durability, performance, and attractiveness.

Consequently, it is employed for decorative purposes as it imparts brilliance and shine to the product. In addition, it renders objects resistant to corrosion and wear and tear.

There are two methods of nickel plating: electroplating and electroless plating.

In nickel electroplating, the nickel coating is deposited by an electrolytic procedure.

In electroless nickel plating, an autocatalytic reaction is utilised to achieve the same result.

The Nickel Electroplating Process

In nickel electroplating, Nickel is utilised as the anode while the object to be nickel-plated serves as the cathode.

These two electrodes are immersed in an electrolyte, such as nickel sulphate or nickel chloride, and a DC power source serves as a rectifier to apply an electric current.

Current flow causes the release of positively charged nickel ions at the cathode. This results in the deposition of a thin layer of nickel on the surface of the object. As the anode gradually dissolves, it is sometimes referred to as the soluble anode.

Electroless plating of nickel

The electroless nickel plating is rather straightforward. The plating occurs owing to an autocatalytic process, therefore there is no need to pass an electric current.

The object to be plated is carefully cleaned and then activated with an acid etch as part of the pretreatment process.

Subsequently, the material is dipped in a reducing solution and coated with nickel.

When specific catalysts are introduced to this solution, metal ions are converted into metal, causing them to deposit on the surface of the object. It differs from electroplating in that it use chemical reduction rather than passing an electric current.

The advantages of nickel plating

Coating items with a thin layer of nickel significantly improves their physical qualities. Additionally, nickel plating offers numerous additional advantages, some of which are listed below.

• It is used to increase the value, functionality, and aesthetic appeal of an item.

• The’silver’ coins are predominantly nickel-plated steel. It is commendable due to its inexpensive price and durability.

• In the automotive industry, nickel plating improves the appearance and durability of plastic and metal components.

• Nickel plating is vital in the aerospace sector due to a variety of nickel’s important features, such as its hardness, adhesion, corrosion and erosion resistance, etc.

• It is used for coating electronic components such as circuits, connections, and microprocessors.

Characteristics of nickel

The table below lists a handful of nickel’s most important properties:

Nickname for nickel

Atomic symbol Ni

28th atomic number

Mass of the atom: 58.693 grammes

Point de fusion 1455 °C

Boiling Point 2913 °C

Density 8.90 gm/cm3

Employs of Nickel

Here are some of nickel’s most important applications:

• Because nickel is an excellent conductor of electricity, it is utilised to make electrical wires.

• Due to its great corrosion resistance even at high temperatures, it is also utilised in the production of gas turbines and rocket engines.

• Nickel is used to create a range of alloys, which in turn are used to create a variety of key products based on their properties; for instance, stainless steel is used to create utensils and other kitchen things.

• Due to its strong corrosion resistance in seawater, Monal, a copper-nickel alloy, is utilised for propeller shafts in desalination plants as well as on boats and ships.

• Nickel is also utilised in coin production.

• Nickel is naturally ferromagnetic. Read the article about whether Nickel is magnetic.


Nickel does not rust. Rusting is the feature of iron and its alloys, which causes them to rust and develop a layer of loose, powdered iron oxide, rendering the object brittle and unstable.

Nickel is very corrosion-resistant. It is resistant to severe temperatures, extreme humidity, and strong chemicals.

The face-centered cubic lattice structure of nickel is primarily responsible for its remarkable corrosion resistance.

When exposed to extreme environments for extended periods of time, Nickel corrodes and forms a green coating of nickel oxide known as Platina.

A substance is nickel-plated to improve its look, durability, and strength.

If you enjoyed the article, please share it with your friends and let me know if you have any questions in the comments section.

Happy learning!!

Read more: MO Diagram, SF4 Lewis Structure, Molecular Geometry, and Hybridization

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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