Nickel-containing materials are widely used in the health field. Get to know examples!

About Vale

4/5/2018

Nickel-containing materials are widely used in the health field. Get to know examples!

Nickel-containing materials, including stainless steels, are recognised as safe, easy to clean and hygienic. Because of these properties they are widely employed in the medical sector, whether for instruments used in operations, implants, equipment in hospitals or further up the supply chain in pharmaceutical processing equipment that produces the life-saving drugs we rely on. And their effectiveness has a long history. Stainless steel has been used for scalpels, dental extraction forceps and implants since the 1920s.

Hygiene is the number one priority of the health care industry and the universal use of stainless steel in hospitals for fixtures and fittings is testament to their ease of cleaning. Stainless steel can withstand repeated sanitisation with harsh chemicals.

Stainless steel has been used for scalpels, dental extraction forceps and implants since the 1920s

Nickel can also provide other properties that find their use in critical applications. For example, Nitinol (nickel-titanium) shape-memory alloys exhibit a combination of properties that make them particularly suited for self-expanding stents used to alleviate vascular conditions. Or in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which provides unrivalled imaging of soft tissues e.g. brain, muscle, heart, tumors, without subjecting patients to ionising radiation. At the core of every MRI system is a powerful magnet (up to 300,000 times more powerful than the earth’s magnetic field), which depends heavily on the nickel-containing stainless steel used in its construction.

But it’s not just the corrosion resistance of nickel-containing austenitic stainless steel that makes it vital in a medical environment. Its ability to withstand ultra-low temperatures (-269°C) make it indispensable for containing liquid nitrogen used in cryosurgery for the removal of abnormal tissue. Nickel’s non-magnetic characteristics make it an ideal structural material for the fabrication of life-saving technology.

Did you know?
Vale is the world’s largest producer of nickel, one of the most versatile metals in existence. Hard and malleable, nickel resists corrosion and maintains its mechanical and physical properties even when subjected to extreme temperatures. Our high-qualitynickelis also valued for its applications in plating and batteries. It gives your bathroom taps and shower heads their bright metallic finish. It’s in everything from your coins to your car. You’ll also find it in your mobile phone and the rechargeable batteries that power it while you’re sending a text, checking email and staying in touch.

Learn more about this versatile metal!

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Nickel-containing materials are widely used in the health field. Get to know examples!