What Is the “Demon Metal”?

Nickel is one of the most useful metals known to man. Because it resists rust and tarnishing, nickel is often used to plate other metals.

Nickel is strong, but it’s soft enough to be easily shaped. It’s used to make coins, tableware, and various utensils, but by far its greatest use is in the manufacture of nickel steel, which is stronger than ordinary steel.

Meteorites that fall to earth sometimes contain nickel. On earth nickel is usually found in ores, mixed with other metals such as iron and copper. In past centuries, chemists had so much trouble isolating pure nickel that they called it the “demon metal.” In fact, the word nickel is related to a German word meaning “imp” or “demon.”

More than 800,000 tons of nickel are mined around the world each year. Canada leads all nations in the production of the “demon metal,- accounting for almost 30 percent of world supplies!