When iron rusts, the corrosion product flakes off exposing new areas
to corrosion. Does a similar process occur with nickel, or does it
form a "passive coating" as is seen with copper. (Hey, I'm a polymers
guy, so if I'm misusing terminology here, feel free to correct me. The
kindness of the correction will be returned if you ever post to
Since corrosion is the reaction of a material with its environment,
and you didn't specify an environment, you have actually asked half of
a question. So, here is half of an answer.
Nickel is more noble than iron, and less noble than copper. It forms a
passive film (of oxides or hydroxides) in some neutral or alkaline
environments. Pure nickel is an excellent material for handling hot
concentrated caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), as has been discussed
previously on this newsgroup.
Even in air nickel may not stay bright, since it can form a "fog"
(thin layer of nickel sulfate). In stagnant seawater nickel can pit.
Artificial sweat (for tests) also will corrode it.
Nickel alloys containing combinations of chromium and molybdenum are
quite resistant to a wide variety of corrosive environments. Loads of
information may be found from the Nickel Development Institute
who also have lots about stainless steels.
Nickel should do a good job of resisting DI water.
The following appears in the section on Fresh and Process Waters in
the publication "High-Performance Alloys for Resistance to Aqueous
"The resistance of Nickel 200 to corrosion by distilled an natural
waters is excellent. Analysis of distilled water from a nickel storage
tank indicated a rate of corrosion of 0.001 mpy (mils per year).
Similarly, tests in domestic hot water up to 200F normally show rates
of less than 0.02 mpy."
Check the manual for your conductivity meter - the electrodes may be
pure nickel (they are in some of the YSI meters).
For more details regarding purer water, why not contact the Nickel
Development Institute and ask them if they have more data specific to
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