A spongy form of nickel made by the action of sodium hydroxide on a nickel-aluminium alloy. The sodium hydroxide dissolves the aluminium leaving a highly active form of nickel with a large surface area. The material is a black pyrophoric powder saturated with hydrogen. It is an extremely efficient catalyst, especially for hydrogenation reactions at room temperature. It was discovered in 1927 by the American chemist M. Raney (1885–1966).