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Sergey Venezky
STORIES ON METALS

NICKEL

COPPER DEVIL

Dream great-grandmothers. - Ancient Chinese alloy. - The machinations of the evil spirit. - Not shy. - The prediction of the great seer. - Energetic Frenchman. - Discovery in Canada. - Gold medal Reisetasche. - The epidemic and its virus. - Who is to blame for the death of the Emperor? - By accident. - "Sabotage" in the Navy. - 3000 in the work. - The secret of the field. - Loud application. - "Diamond alloy". - Unforgettable past. - Fun glitter. - "Puff" coin. - The trouble is remedied. - Unexpectedly. - "Nepotism" and the hassle. - Close relationship. - Plated planet. - Terrier looking for ore. - The mammoth explosion". - How much of the action "Poseidon"? - Ambitious projects. - Whether justice will prevail?

Must be, not all know that in ancient times our distant great-grandmother - who was still young and beautiful - love-treated Nickel, and the metal was said to them in return: one it is in the form of a pendant languidly lying on his chest, another bracelet clasped hand, and the third into a tiara, decorated with magnificent hair.

Yes, do not be surprised: in the beginning of the last century Nickel was considered a precious metal. Production was associated with great difficulties, and the very small amount of Nickel, which could be obtained, were the fashionable jewelers. But engineers have not been to this metal to be any interest, because it could then still find it of use.

Ancient Chinese alloy of Nickel with copper and zinc - pakpongDating someone with Nickel took place many centuries ago. The ancient Chinese, for example, in the II century BC smelted alloy of Nickel with copper and zinc - "Patpong", which were popular in different countries. Got it in the Bactria - state, located on the territory of modern Central Asian republics. Bactrians also produced from this alloy coins. One of these coins issued in 235 BC, is stored in the British Museum in London.

As a chemical element Nickel was discovered in 1751: Swedish chemist and Metallurgist Axel Frederic Cronstedt discovered it in the mineral, known by the name "Kies-copper Nickel", which meant "the bronze devil." For what sins this stone got so unflattering nickname? The fact that the medieval Saxon miners often met mineral reddish color. Because of its colour the stone was mistaken by them for copper ore. Tried metallurgists to produce from this copper ore copper, but the chances of success they had hardly more than the alchemists, who hoped by using the "philosopher's stone" to get the gold from the urine of animals.

"What is the reason of failure?" - puzzled Saxons. Finally, some of them dawned on me: of course, all of this intrigues nick - evil spirit of the mountains, which is firmly entrenched in the demonic stone and does not wish to give a single ounce of copper from its reserves.

Perhaps scholars of the middle ages succeeded in further research to substantiate this bold hypothesis. In any case, attempts to obtain from reddish mineral copper is no longer made. And to continue, no one fell for this futile, mineral it came to be called "copper devil."

Cronstedt, probably, was not superstitious. Not being afraid of the devil, he managed still to get from Kies-copper Nickel metal, but not copper, and a new element, which he called a Nickel. But if the devil took revenge on the scientist: chemists did not want to recognize the Nickel element. Only in 1775, ten years after the death of Kronstadt, his compatriot, Torbern Bergman published the results of their research, where he convincingly argued that the Nickel is not a mixture of several elements, as argued by the opponents and independent metal.

However, after this controversy has not subsided. The end they put a German chemist Jeremiah Richter after nearly three decades: in 1804 he was able to select all from the same Kies-copper Nickel very pure Nickel, but he had to do 32 recrystallization of Nickel sulphate. His article, in which he described the Nickel, the scientist said: "absolutely pure Nickel, noble metal, it is received and properties". It is clear that produced so hard the metal could count only jewelers. About Nickel production on an industrial scale if the question did not arise.

It took more than half a century before the great seer DI Mendeleev was able to say: "If you will open rich deposits of Nickel, " he wrote in the book "fundamentals of chemistry", published in 1869 in St. Petersburg, then this metal have extensive practical application in a pure state, and in the form of alloys. Around the same time, specifically in 1865, large deposits of Nickel ore were found on the Islands of New Caledonia. The head of the mining Department of this French colony shortly before the events described, was appointed the young geologist Jules Garnier, possessing exceptional energy and knowledge. He was very active, hoping to find minerals. Soon his search was unsuccessful: the depths of the Islands were rich in Nickel. In honor of the energetic French new Caledonian Nickel-bearing mineral called garnierite.

After almost two decades in Canada when laying Pacific railway workers came across huge deposits of copper-Nickel ores.

These two discoveries have served as a powerful impetus to the development of commercial production of Nickel. Approximately in the same years was discovered and important property of this element is to improve the quality of steel. However, in 1820, the famous English scientist Michael Faraday conducted several experiments on the melting of steels containing Nickel, but then they could not be of interest to metallurgists.

At the end of the last century, the Obukhov plant (St. Petersburg) has received an important task of the naval Department to develop the production of high-quality ship armor. By this time the fleet of England and France was already dressed in a new armor from Nickel steel, which was highly appreciated by specialists.

The creation of new domestic booking was made by famous Russian Metallurgist and field A.A. Rzeszotarska. Hard work was soon completed successfully. Obukhov factory began to produce excellent ten-inch armor of Nickel steel. This armor the quality is not inferior to foreign ones, but Rzeszotarska decided to go further. He soon developed a new technology for armor: surface metal layer was subjected to carburizing - saturate it with carbon. In this way managed to get the armor exceptional strength and toughness with increased hardness of the surface layer. It was difficult to compete even armor plates French group "Schneider-Creusot", whose products until armor Reisetasche was considered the standard. The Navy has awarded a talented engineer with a gold medal, and technology began to produce armor and other plants.

In our day Nickel steel is used for peaceful purposes. Stainless chromium-Nickel steel manufactures surgical tools, parts, chemical equipment, household items.

No less important lesson Nickel - participation in the creation of a variety of alloys with other metals. In the beginning of XIX century metallurgists and chemists have covered the epidemic, seeking a new alloy that can replace silver for the manufacture of crockery and Cutlery.

In the role of the virus made a solid prize promised to the person who first reaches the target. It was then that I remembered about the ancient Chinese alloy. Almost simultaneously, various scientists, modeled after the composition Pachanga managed to get some alloys, very similar to silver. One of them was named "Argentan" ("like silver"), the other "Nickel silver" ("new silver"). After some time there appeared Melchior, Alpine and other substitutes for silver, which certainly included the Nickel.

These beautiful and durable alloys quickly gained popularity and came into use. However, in 1916, the share of one of them - Nickel - silver-out of major trouble. Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, who enjoyed the service of this alloy, suddenly fell ill and died. Why? Suspicion fell on the "new silver" on the dishes from it was banned. Thorough research helped to rehabilitate innocent alloy. But the Emperor died not so suddenly: he was old "only" 86 years.

Usually the creation of a new alloy is preceded by a long search, experiments, tests. But it happens that his birth alloy must only chance. This happened at the beginning of our century in Canada, which produced rich Nickel ore. When processing them before metallurgists every time there was a difficult task: how to separate the Nickel from copper, which in appreciable quantities were also present in the ores? And what if you do not separate these metals, and to melt them together, getting a kind of natural copper-Nickel alloy? Such original thought came to mind, Colonel Ambrose to Money - President of the International Nickel company. In 1905, the idea was brought to life, and it turned out that "illegitimate" alloy has a set of advantages: high chemical resistance, strength and ductility, beautiful "external data" in addition, it was relatively inexpensive, and this fact has always had in the technique of paramount importance. Soon Monel-metal (so-called this alloy) won a strong position in chemical engineering, shipbuilding? electrical, petroleum, medical, textile and other industries.

For alloys of Nickel were all new cases. During the first world war witnessed cases when warships, did not participate in the battles, however, had for a long time to stand in the dock for repair. The ships of the building was subversive activity of sea water, which literally ate copper-zinc tube condensers ship's boilers. I had to urgently look for a more suitable material for the ill-fated tubes.

While scientists have been searching for, the war had to end, but the question was withdrawn from the agenda. Only in 1926 managed to create a copper-Nickel alloy, which was not contraindicated marine service. Three years later all the French ships, and then the navies of other powers got a new condenser tubes. Now the sailors could be certain that the tube will not fail them in difficult times.

Now the number of Nickel alloys, which have a wide application in engineering, household, jewelry, exceeded 3000!

Together with Monel metal work successfully in corrosive environments corrosion resistant alloys type Hastelloy. Nichrome spiral used in heating devices, the electric resistance furnace. Nickel silver participates in the work of the various devices and apparatuses. In the exact mechanics for the manufacture calibers and gages used Invar - alloy with a very low coefficient of expansion when heated from 0 to 40°C, its volume increases by only one-millionth as compared to the initial. Platinic serves as a substitute for expensive platinum in those cases where you need to solder the metal in glass syringes, light bulbs, etc.): coefficient of thermal expansion of this alloy is the same as that of glass and platinum. Elastic alloy elinvar is an excellent material for springs, in particular time. High magnetic properties of such alloys, as Alnico, alni. The permalloy after special thermomechanical processing becomes extremely large magnetic permeability, easily magnetized and demagnetized even in weak fields; this alloy finds application in telephony and radio engineering. For the manufacture of thermocouples used chromel and alumel.

An important role in aviation and space technology play a heat-resistant Nickel steels and alloys. When one field that has developed many excellent high-temperature alloys, were asked to share their "secrets", he jokingly replied: "I simply replace the steels iron on Nickel. This joke a great deal of truth. Thus, heat resistant alloys, Nimonic and Inconel - fairly close relatives chromium-Nickel stainless steel, but iron in them a little: it has almost totally replaced the Nickel. But blades of gas turbines and other critical components of aircraft engines, are made of these alloys, operate reliably even at 1000 °C.

In the late 60-ies of the Soviet scientists have created a new acoustic alloy - Nikosi, so named by the first syllables of its components: 94% Nickel, 4% cobalt and 2% silicon (Latin - silicium). For alloy characterized by the so-called magnetostrictive effect: an alternating electromagnetic field rod of Nikosi continuously compressed and stretched, becoming the source of acoustic oscillations. For a long time in the magnetostrictive generators this role was played the Nickel, but the new alloy almost one and a half times better converts electromagnetic energy into sound than pure metal. Nikosi immediately loudly declared itself by taking part in the creation of powerful sources of ultrasound.

Recently in our country has been developed another amazing alloy - provengal. It consists of Nickel in combination with chromium, vanadium and gallium. From gram this alloy can provide a kilometer subtle as a spider's web of wire. But the main advantage of the alloy: the electrical resistance of the wire from ravangla in the temperature range from -60 to 200°C varies by no more than a thousandth of a percent, i.e. remains almost constant. Thanks to this new alloy has proved invaluable for various standards for many appliances and devices.

Unusual composite material with the beautiful name "diamond alloy" created by American scientists: the basis of this wear-resistant composite material contains up to 30% of a powdered synthetic diamonds. The friction parts of machines and vehicles, covered with a layer of new material, are about six times longer than usual.

But perhaps the greatest interest in the scientific and industrial world has caused the Nickel alloy (55%) of titanium, nitinol. It was created in one of the laboratories of the USA in the early 60-ies, but his talent was not immediately disclosed. Fairly lightweight, durable and flexible, corrosion resistant, it is considered a good alloy. Nevertheless, we continued to conduct different experiments, and suddenly the alloy showed a unique ability to remember his past. It happened during one of the numerous experiments. Nitinol spiral after post processing was heated to 150°C and cooled, and then it hung cargo, which stretched her and turned into a completely flat wire. Miracles began when this wire is again heated up to 95°C): at the astonished eyes of the researchers, it has turned into ... a spiral.

Nitinol - the alloy with a good memory

The experiment was set again and again, making the metal more complex forms, but he continued to show a brilliant memory, calmly taking its original appearance. Wire, for example, bent in such a way that it formed the word "nitinol", then heated, cooled and deformed beyond recognition, but it was necessary to pass through this wire mess in a strong electrical impulse, instantly risography her, and the eyes of scientists was brought again the name of the alloy.

Designers have already found for nitinol many applications. It is possible to produce, for example, rivets to connect these structures, which can be adjusted with only one hand. Metal offer to "remember" in the form of conventional rivets, and then the working end its turn in a round rod, which is inserted into the hole at low temperature. Now you need a little heat the rivet head, and she remembers that she had thickened and with the other hand. This rivet secures the parts tightly.

One of the American companies related to space research, designed the antenna from nitinol, designed for artificial Earth satellites. Stranded in a dense tangle it during startup takes up little space, hiding in the hole. But in space, when the sun's rays heat the alloy, the antenna acquires the desired shape. The same principle is proposed to use for the manufacture of the telescope with an antenna diameter of about one kilometre.

In the novel of the American writer Arthur Hailey's "Wheels" one of the leaders of the major automobile company shared with reporters his thoughts: "the New will undoubtedly find their way. And the most important innovations that can already be foreseen, will be associated with materials that will make us... to create a whole new kind of machines. Take, for example, metals... work is Underway on the creation of such a metal, which would have the ability to "remember" its original shape. If, for example, you will pugnate wing or door, it will be enough to expose this item high temperature processing, and metal will be restored to its former shape." As you may have guessed, the question in this passage is about nitinol.

A few years ago, visitors to the air show in Paris airport Le Bourget among the many exhibits of the Soviet Union, could see the current "artificial muscle" - nitinol wire, rolled into a spiral, with suspended her small weight. When passed through a wire current, the spring is heated - the weight crept up. The current was switched off, the spring was cold - the weight slowly descended.

Scientists were able to develop a number of metal compositions, which also has a good "memory". Therefore, the nitinol are no longer alone, but he still holds a dominant position among the alloys that do not forget how they looked in the past.

We all know hobby Nickel: he willingly protects other less resistant metals from oxidation, giving the products a beautiful appearance. Fun glitter pots, coffee pots and samovars are all tricks of the Nickel thin layer which covered many items.

First attempt to use this metal as a coating made in 1842 by the German scientist bether. However, he failed to achieve his goal, as a Nickel at that time contained impurities, hindered by galvanic coating. Since then, electroplating has leaped forward. Thin film of Nickel reliably protects today, iron, allowing you to protect against corrosion huge amounts of this metal.

Nickel coating helps to fight against... of counterfeiters. France had issued a new coin 5 francs. The main difference of it from other coins is that it is a "layer": a non-magnetic Nickel silver base coated with the layer of Nickel. Now the owners of vending machines can be calm: petrankova coin has electromagnetic properties that it is practically impossible to substitute any counterfeit coin.

Scientists have long noticed the catalytic ability of Nickel. Back in the 90-ies of the last century, the French chemists Sabatier and Sinderen was fascinated by the problem of obtaining the so-called "hardened" fat from liquid vegetable oils. They found that the molecule of vegetable oil you want to attach a certain amount of hydrogen. But here's the problem: install-scientists have found, and to attach them did not succeed. First they were just trying to pass the hydrogen through the fat - gas did not want to join into the interaction. Tried to enter various additives - unsuccessfully. Only when the catalyst chemists have used fine powder of Nickel, the goal was achieved. Resulting cured fat have found application in the manufacture of margarine. And today Nickel is one of the main actors in catalytic chemistry.

At the end of the last century there was another event that unexpectedly opened a new class of chemical compounds CARBONYLS of metals. The first in the history of chemistry this material was Nickel carbonyl. It accidentally got in 1890, the English scientist and industrialist Ludwig Mond, who together with his' helpers" research" for gas cleaning from impurities of carbon monoxide. For over a hot Nickel was passed a gaseous oxide of carbon. When the experience was over, Mond noticed that colorless flame exhaust of carbon monoxide was white. Intrigued by this phenomenon, researchers have continued the experiments, and each time the flame was white. Doubt could not be: the carbon monoxide reacts with Nickel. But what the result is? Using a mixture of snow with salt managed to condense drops heavy colourless liquid, which is called the carbonyl Nickel.

Triad - iron, Nickel, cobaltMonda belongs and the idea of the practical use of carbonyl compounds. He suggested, acting by carbon oxide materials containing Nickel, "vaporize" it in the form of carbonyl, and then heating the carbonyl, get out of it is pure Nickel. Carbonyl method now widely used for the production of metals of high purity, as well as for application to articles of Nickel, cobalt and chrome coatings.

From other Nickel compounds important industrial significance of its oxide is used for the manufacture of alkaline Nickel-iron batteries, which are invented by the famous American Thomas Alva Edison. These batteries, although inferior to the lead on the magnitude of the electromotive force, but weigh less, last longer serve and also easier to operate.

In the Periodic system Nickel is next to iron and cobalt. Being similar in many respects, these elements form the so-called triad. Interestingly, of all the known elements, only members of the iron triad and rare earth metal gadolinium have under normal conditions ferromagnetic properties. This "nepotism" is a lot of hassle metallurgists: to separate Nickel from cobalt - not an easy task. Yes and another neighbor Nickel on the table of elements - copper - also very reluctant to part with him. In nature and cobalt, and copper, usually accompanied by Nickel. The separation of these elements is very complex multistage process. For this reason, the Nickel is considered to be one of the most expensive and scarce industrial metals.

In the earth's crust contains less than one-hundredth of a percent Nickel. Don't think it's enough. Suppose someone came up with the idea to nikelirovaniya our planet. Will there be enough to do this, the earth's reserves of Nickel? The calculation shows that it is not only enough, but still and will remain for tens of thousands (!) such as "balls". But the crust is just the shell, which are much more dense layers, where the Nickel content, according to scientists, is much higher.

Geologists engaged in the search for minerals, often resort to the help of... dogs. For several years scientists of the Institute of Geology, Karelian branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences jointly with the employees of the Institute of Mineralogy conducted successful experiments on dog training professionals. Shepherd, Terrier and Spaniel, as a sensitive devices, reacted to the ores of many metals, including Nickel, lying at a depth of several meters.

"Not too primitive for the XX century this way?" you would think, maybe some of the readers. Do not jump to conclusions: the fact that in the Northern marshes geologists to search for ore difficult, and the cost is not cheap. Four-legged friends have a high permeability and penetrate into places that are inaccessible to humans. The radius of the living "instrument" ten times more than ordinary physical devices used for mineral exploration. The dogs have another advantage: to "explore" a dozen boxes of samples, they need only a few seconds, then as a geologist for this usually requires long hours.

The experience of Soviet scientists on the use of dogs for exploration has adopted the canadian experts. At the police Department Vancouver took three German shepherds, trained their new profession, and sent on a long trip in search of mineral deposits. Under the guidance of experienced geologists dogs only for the season opened a few promising deposits of Nickel and copper.

Dogs are looking for a Nickel

Canada has played a leading role in the extraction of Nickel ores among capitalist countries. One of the major canadian oil fields located near lake Ontario. Here at Nickel mines, was a colossal industrial explosion. Preparation for it lasted more than a year. In the rocks was done by 17 thousand holes, total length of which amounted to several tens of kilometers. In bore-holes laid huge quantity of explosives - train of 30 cars! The mammoth explosion" was the title of his Canadians - raised in the air half a million tons of rock and three and a half million tons of Nickel ore. More recently, large deposits of Nickel were found near the canadian lake Manitoba. This discovery made using instruments that have been monitoring our planet with one of its satellites.

At the end of 1969 on the London stock exchange rose to unprecedented boom: the rate of shares issued by joint stock company "Poseidon", then increased sharply, rapidly falling behind the messages coming from Australia. Company "Poseidon" was created shortly after in the coastal Sands of this continent have found a Nickel. The results of further researches of geologists immediately became known in London. First there was information about a very high Nickel content rate of the shares immediately visibly jumped. Then was told that an error has occurred ten times (not there was a comma) after a few minutes of the action "Poseidon" began to sell almost for nothing. But here's a new message with teletype tape: initial data on the high concentration of Nickel is correct again share prices vzvinchivaniya to the limit. Apparently, someone did a good pogrel on this hand, and the epicenter of the Nickel boom has now moved directly to Australia, where he turned the operation of the richest deposits.

Unlike Earth, where Nickel is found only in conjunction with other elements, many celestial bodies have pure Nickel. Fairly large quantities of cosmic Nickel falls on our planet. Scientists estimate that every year for every square kilometer of the World ocean falls in the form of meteorites to 250 grams of Nickel. It would seem, not so much. But the ocean is of considerable age, large size, and hence substantial savings. Recent data obtained by satellites, showed that the earth's atmosphere absorbs annually more than one million tons of interplanetary dust (and during the meteor showers this "dust" increases hundreds of times), and, as you know, the Nickel content in it is very high.

Interesting projects replenishment of the earth's Nickel reserves at the expense of the heavenly bodies. In the interplanetary space around tens of thousands of so-called minor planets - asteroids, consisting mainly of iron and Nickel. Orbit some of them are relatively close to Earth's orbit, and sometimes the asteroids are at a fairly close distance from our planet. According to some scientists, it is theoretically possible, using missiles, to bring an asteroid into earth orbit, and then to deploy the production of iron and Nickel. One of the projects involves the infiltration into the asteroid special automatic devices that use solar ovens will be melted asteroid substance into ingots weighing millions of tons. The rocket will deliver these ingots into earth orbit, and will only safely pull the metal on the surface of the Earth. But how? Proposed, for example, melt it in orbit and fill it with gas, and the resulting foam metal pripodneati then into the ocean, where they will float in the waiting transport ships that will take them on the coastal metallurgical plants. According to experts, every cubic kilometer asteroid substances at current consumption rates Nickel will provide Earth metal of about 1250 years.

Maybe in the future will be to extract Nickel from asteroid substances...

Challenging projects, isn't it? But isn't it more recently, the journey of man in outer space was not perceived even by many scientists just as daring flight of fancy?

...Our story about the Nickel - metal, named after the evil spirit of the mountains, came to an end. Maybe someday justice will prevail, and the Nickel will be called "good magician". But however, it really is important, what is the name of the metal? Importantly, it brings people a huge favor.

 

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