Nickel carbonate can be described as a blend of inorganic compounds that contain nickel and carbonate. Nickel carbonate is also known as carbonic acid nickel salt, nickelous carbonate, nickel monocarbonate, and nickel (II) carbonate. Nickel carbonate appears as a light green rhombohedral crystal at room temperature. Nickel carbonate is odorless. Nickel carbonate is soluble in acids, and insoluble in water. Nickel carbonate can be easily converted to other nickel compounds, such as oxide by heating. This process is called as calcination. Nickel carbonate occurs in nature as a hexahydrate (hellyerite) and as a hydroxyhydrate.
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These are two basic forms of nickel carbonate. The molecular formula of these two forms is Ni4CO3(OH)6(H2O)4 and NiCO32Ni(OH)2 respectively. From the industrial perspective, important type of nickel carbonate is nickel carbonate basic, with molecular formula Ni4CO3(OH)6(H2O)4. The second type of nickel carbonate occurs in nature as a mineral, zaratite. Zaratite is not a single mineral, but a composite of amorphous and fibrous components. Nickel carbonate is moderately toxic and can cause irritation. If overexposed to nickel carbonate, it can cause irritation of digestive tract, irritation of respiratory tract, skin irritation, and eye irritation. Prolonged or repeated exposure to nickel carbonate can cause dermatitis.
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Nickel carbonate is primarily used to prepare nickel catalysts and several specialty compounds of nickel. Nickel carbonate is also used as a neutralizing agent in nickel plating solutions. In electroplating process, there is an extensive use of nickel carbonate. Fuel manufacturing companies remove sulphur by using nickel carbonate-based catalysts. Nickel carbonate is also preferred as a potential edible oil hardening agent. Nickel carbonate has found its use in petroleum refining industry. Nickel carbonate is particularly suitable for the provision of the nickel elements needed in the nickel and zinc coatings to provide corrosion protection to the steel used in automotive applications. Other applications of nickel carbonate are in coloring of glass, and in the manufacture of ceramic pigments. Such multiple applications of nickel carbonate are eventually creating a positive prospect for the global nickel carbonate market.
The global nickel carbonate market is expected to grow at a single digit CAGR from 2014 to 2020. The major driver for nickel carbonate market is growing automobile industry especially in developing nations such as China and India. Nickel carbonate shows toxicity to human beings, this can act as a restraining factor for the growth of global nickel carbonate market.
Asia Pacific is projected to be the fastest growing market for nickel carbonate in the next six years. The main reason for this is the growing demand for nickel carbonate market from developing countries such as China and India. The Asia Pacific market is expected to be followed closely by European market. Europe and Asia Pacific are the leaders in the production of nickel carbonate across the globe as more than two third of the total global primary nickel production takes place in Europe and Asia Pacific. Consumption wise also Asia Pacific and Europe are the two major reasons which are leaders in the consumption of nickel carbonate across the globe.
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Some of the major companies operating in the global nickel carbonate market are Ceramic Color and Chemical Mfg. Co., Sigma Aldrich Co. LLC., NILE CHEMICALS, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., The Shepherd Chemical Company, ALT Cobalt & Nickel Products (Dalian) Co. Ltd., and OM Group, Inc.