Nickel sheet is a flat, often thin sheet constructed of the metal nickel or nickel alloys. Nickel sheets are among the number of items that can be formed from nickel. Besides being able to withstand extreme temperatures, nickel alloys can be welded, machined, and hot and cold worked. When purchasing nickel sheeting, it is important to consider the specific alloy used as physical, chemical, and machining properties will vary.
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Applications of Nickel Sheets
The nickel sheets available from suppliers are rarely the finished products, though they and the products made from them are extremely versatile and widely employed across the industrial sector.
Many industries use metal sheets in stock and finished form, including:
- Power Generation
- Chemical Processing
- Building and Construction
- Material Handling
Material Properties of Nickel Sheets
Nickel sheets are thin, flat stock metal shapes that exhibit uniform thickness and are formed from billets or ingots of pure nickel or any of a number of nickel alloys. In general, these forms are thicker than foil but thinner than nickel plates. Thicknesses between 0.006 inches and 0.250 inches most commonly constitute a sheet, though the individual standards of nickel suppliers may vary. Sheets are ideal stock forms, as they are available in standardized measurements, allowing manufacturers to plan for efficient transport, storage, and secondary processing. The thinness of the sheet combined with the ductile and malleable qualities of nickel allow for easy fabrication of specific shapes while still maintaining the integrity of the materials. Additional properties of nickel such as hardness, ferromagnetism, electrical and heat conductivity, as well as corrosion resistance, give further incentive to utilize this material in sheet or other form.
Manufacturing Process of Nickel Sheets
Before sheet production can begin, this naturally occurring element must be mined from the earth most often by means of pyrometallurgical extraction of hydrometallurgy. The resulting nickel ore is refined through various roasting and reduction processes until the desired purity is reached. Commercial grade nickel sheets are composed of 99.6% nickel and minimal amounts of other elements while some nickel alloys contain as little as 32.5% nickel. The nickel or alloy is then formed into ingots, billets, bars, or other shapes that are used in the formation of sheets.
Processes such as extrusion, casting, hot rolling, cold rolling, and drawing are commonly used in sheet metal production, with hot or cold roll forming as the most common technique. In this method the stock nickel, heated or at room temperature, is fed through a pair of rollers that compress the metal into a thin sheet. In some cases, several rollers or several passes through the same rollers may be needed to reach the desired thickness which should be uniform throughout the sheet. The thickness, gauge, length, and width of the resulting nickel sheet should be carefully considered with regards to its final use, as should the effects of any initial or secondary processing. Once purchased for a given application, these thin planes may undergo many different processes, such as folding, punching, stamping, slitting, cutting, metal spinning, and other fabrication methods which create the final piece.