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nickel 60 is an isotope of nickel with an atomic number of 62. It is an element of the group 10 (VIIIb) of the periodic table and is markedly resistant to oxidation and corrosion. It is used in many alloys, especially with iron, and has a variety of industrial uses. Nickel is also known for its ferromagnetism, which is why nickel-plated coins are magnetic. Nickel is also an essential ingredient in many types of stainless steels.
Nickel is an element that can be found naturally as a free metal in ores. The majority of the world’s supply comes from nickel-bearing laterites, primarily pentlandite and pyrrhotite, as well as nickel-bearing magmas such as garnierite. It is also found in meteoric deposits.
It is generally considered to be toxic in its pure form, but in alloys it has important industrial applications. For example, it is used to make stainless steels, especially in combination with chromium, and to manufacture nickel-based superalloys. Nickel also has a high melting point, which makes it useful in making electrical contacts and other heat-resistant parts.
Exposure to nickel metal and its soluble compounds can cause skin irritation in some individuals. Nickel sulfide fume and dust are believed to be carcinogenic. Nickel also forms toxic carbonyls, such as Ni(CO)4, which is explosive in air. Some alloys of nickel with other metals are used as biomedical materials, for instance the shape memory alloy nitinol (nickel–titanium–iron), which is six times stronger than stainless steel and can be deformed to retain its original shape, such as in frames for glasses or dental braces.