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 0.006inches and 0.250inches most commonly constitute a sheet, though the individual standards of nickel suppliers may vary.
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. Minting, power generation, chemical processing, building and construction, marine, material handling, electronics, aerospace, medical and numerous other industries find many applications for metal sheets in stock and finished form.
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. When purchasing nickel sheeting, it is important to consider the specific alloy used as physical, chemical and machining properties will vary.
Before sheet production can begin, this naturally occurring element must be mined from the earth most often by means of pyrometallurgical extraction or hydruometallurgy. 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 for 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.