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What Is Chromium Metal Used For?

Table of Contents

Chromium metal is a valuable resource that has been used by humans for centuries. It is produced through a process that has some environmental impact, but the benefits of using it in various industries outweigh the costs. We hope this article provides you with a better understanding of the product and its many uses.

The chromium metal is mainly applicated in high-temperature alloys, resistance alloys, precision alloys, aluminum alloys (aluminum alloy chrome agent, aluminum-chromium intermediate alloy), titanium alloys, welding materials (stainless steel special welding rods, thermal spray powder, flux cored welding consumables), stainless steel, powder metallurgy (cemented carbide, copper-chromium alloy contacts), copper alloys (electrode alloys, chrome bronze), the medical industry (in the production of certain drugs)

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What chromium metal is used for

Chromium is a lustrous, brittle, gray-white metal. It is used in metallurgy for producing stainless steel and nonferrous alloys. When chromium is added to steel, it forms an invisible film that resists corrosion. This “passive film” is what gives stainless steel its remarkable ability to resist rusting.

Chromium is also used in nickel chrome plating, which protects metal surfaces from wear and corrosion. In the glass industry, chromium compounds are used to produce a wide range of colors, from delicate greens to deep reds. Chromium is also used in the tanning of leather and the manufacturing of pigments and dyes.

The Many Application of Chromium Metal

We will explore some of the more common applications.

Chromium in High-Temperature Alloys

Chromium is used in the production of both ferritic and austenitic stainless sheets of steel and other heat-resistant alloys. In these alloys, chromium provides corrosion resistance and oxidation resistance at high temperatures. In addition, chromium imparts significant strength and hardness properties to these alloys.

Chromium in Resistance Alloys

Chromium is also used in the production of resistance alloys. These alloys are used in electrical resistors and heating elements. They must have high electrical resistivity and good stability at high temperatures. In addition, they must not oxidize or corrode when exposed to the atmosphere.

Chromium in Precision Alloys

Precision alloys are those that have precise physical and chemical properties. They are often used in electronic devices such as sensors, transducers, and magnetic amplifiers. Chromium is used in the production of precision alloys because it imparts special magnetic properties to these alloys.

Chromium in Aluminum Alloys

Aluminum alloys are widely used in the aerospace field due to their lightweight and high strength-to-weight ratio. Chromium is added to aluminum alloys to improve their corrosion resistance and mechanical properties such as strength and hardness.

Titanium Alloys

One of the most common applications of chromium metal is in titanium alloys. Titanium alloys are strong yet lightweight, making them ideal for use in a variety of industries such as aerospace and automotive. Chromium adds strength and durability to titanium alloys, making them even more resistant to wear and tear.

Welding Materials

Another common application is in welding materials. Stainless steel weld rods containing chromium are used to weld stainless steel pipes and other components together. Thermal spray powder containing chromium is used in the process of thermal spraying, where a coating of material is applied to a surface using high-velocity particles.

And finally, flux-cored welding consumables containing chromium are used in the process of flux-cored arc welding, where an electrode is fed through a hollow tube filled with flux.

Stainless Steel

Chromium is also a key ingredient in stainless steel. Stainless steel contains at least 10.5% chromium, which gives it its signature lustrous sheen as well as superior resistance to corrosion. Chromium also makes stainless steel resistant to staining and easy to clean. That’s why it’s often used in kitchen appliances, sinks, and countertops.

Powder Metallurgy

Powder metallurgy is another area where chromium metal is put to good use. Cemented carbides contain high levels of chromium, which makes them extremely hard and durable. Copper-chromium alloy contacts are also used in a variety of electrical applications due to their reliability and conductivity.

Copper Alloys

Chromium is also found in many copper alloys such as electrode alloys and chrome bronze. Electrode alloys containing chromium are used in arc welding and plasma cutting due to their high electrical conductivity and resistance. Chrome bronze containing chromium is often used in bearings and valves due to its resistance to wear and tear.

Chromium metal read to sealing


Chromium metal has many important uses across a variety of industries. In high-temperature alloys, chromium provides corrosion resistance and oxidation resistance at high temperatures. In resistance alloys, chromium is used to create electrical resistors and heating elements.

Chromium is also added to aluminum alloys to improve their corrosion resistance and mechanical properties such as strength and hardness. Whatever the application, it’s clear that chromium metal plays an important role in many industries today.

The history of chromium metal

Chromium was discovered by Louis Nicolas Vauquelin in the year 1797. Vauquelin was a French chemist. He found chromium while studying a ruby-colored mineral. The name chromium is derived from chroma, which is the Greek word for color.  Vauquelin found that it could be used to make a permanent magenta dye.

In 1809, chromic acid was prepared by James Tennant by dissolving chromate minerals in sulfuric acid. This became the first commercial application for chromium. By 1820, chromic acid was being produced on a large scale for use in leather tanning. In 1821, chromium compounds were used to produce a green pigment called emerald green.

Inspect chromium metal

Chromium Compounds Multipurpose

Chromium compounds were also used in the manufacture of paints, inks, and dyes. In 1854, French metallurgist Henri-Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville developed a process for making steel that contained 0.5% chromium. This steel was resistant to corrosion and could be polished to a high luster.

In 1891, Elwood Haynes received a U.S. patent for an alloy of iron, chromium, and manganese that he called “Stainless Steel.” This alloy contained 10% chromium and 2% manganese and was more resistant than Deville’s steel.

Stainless steel is now used in thousands of applications including cutlery, surgical instruments, jewelry, and industrial equipment such as valves and chemical containers. Chromium metal is also used to plate other metals.

Chromate conversion coatings are used on aluminum, zinc, and galvanized steel to improve their durability and appearance. Chromic acid is used in electroplating baths for copper, nickel, brass, tin-zinc alloys, and stainless steel. Chromates are also used as wood preservatives and fabric protectors.

It is used to make many alloys. The most well-known alloy that contains chromium is stainless steel. Stainless steel contains chromium to resist corrosion. 

Chromium is a transition metal that has two main forms, chromium III and chromium VI.

Chromium III and Chromium VI: What’s the Difference?

Chromium III is the stable form of chromium and is found in nature, while chromium VI is unstable and rare in nature. Both forms of chromium are used industrially, but they have different applications.

Chromium III

Chromium III is the stable form of chromium and is found in nature. It is used industrially in stainless steel, as a pigment in dyes and paints, and as a catalyst in the production of synthetic rubber. Chromium III compounds are generally safe and non-toxic.

Chromium VI

Chromium VI is unstable and rare in nature. It is used industrially in the production of chrome plating and as a pigment in dyes and paints. Chromium VI compounds are generally toxic and can cause health problems such as lung cancer.


Chromium III and chromium VI are two different forms of chromium with different industrial uses. Chromium III is stable and found in nature, while chromium VI is unstable and rare in nature.

Both forms of chromium are used industrially, but they have different applications. Chromium III compounds are generally safe and non-toxic, while chromium VI compounds are generally toxic and can cause health problems such as lung cancer.

Chromium III, It’s a biologically active form of chromium, while chromium VI is widely used in industry as a pigment and as a chrome plating agent. 

Chromium compounds are also used in the leather tanning process and as wood preservatives. Chromate and dichromate salts are the most commonly used chromium compounds. Chromate salts are used as corrosion inhibitors, while dichromate salts are used as oxidizing agents and as cleaners.


The history of chromium metal is a long and fascinating one. From its initial discovery to its current uses, chromium has played an important role in both industry and science.

It's many use

How Chromium Metal Is Produced

Chromium is a hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point. It is odorless and tasteless. Which is the 22nd element in the periodic table with the symbol Cr. It has an atomic weight of 51.9961 and belongs to group 6, period 4. In nature, chromium is found combined with other elements in over 300 different minerals. The principal ore of chromium is chromite, FeCr2O4.

Know More About Chromate and Dichromate Salts

Chromate and dichromate salts are orange or yellow and are soluble in water. Trivalent chromium compounds, such as chromic chloride (CrCl3) and chromic sulfate (Cr2(SO4)3), are used as mordants, wood preservatives, corrosion inhibitors, etching agents.

Hexavalent chromium compounds, such as sodium dichromate (Na2Cr2O7), potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7), and H2CrO4, are used for tanning hides, preserving wooden boat hulls, as oxidizing agents for paints and varnishes, as drying agents for paints, in the dyeing field for cotton fabrics, and in textile printing.

Know More About Chrome Plating

Chrome plating, which is also called “chromizing,” is a process that provides a wear-resistant, decorative coating on metal surfaces by electrodeposition from solutions of certain Halochrome compounds.

When these solutions are used on iron or steel, they form a layer of chromium oxide that adheres firmly to the surface and acts as a barrier to further oxygenation. Theoretically, any metal can be chromized, but only those with unusual properties make the process commercially feasible.

Aluminothermic Process

Although it is produced commercially on only a small scale, pure chromium has been prepared electrolytically from ferrous chloride melted with calcium chloride. Most commercial production now employs the aluminothermic process in which ferrochromium is produced from Chromite by reduction with aluminum chips at 1 600°C: 2 Cr 2 O 3 + Al → 2 Al 2 O 3 + 2 Cr This reaction leaves behind about 10% of its original weight as slag.

Detailed Processing

The molten product contains about 70 % Cr by weight and can be cast into ingots or poured into the water where it rapidly solidifies to yield Cr “shot”.

Chromic oxide, CrO3, can be made by burning powdered chromium in oxygen or by treating sodium dichromate with sulfuric acid. It dissolves readily in strong mineral acids but is otherwise fairly inert chemically.

Concentrated solutions decompose on standing owing to the oxidation of the trivalent ion to hexavalent chromium; this equilibrium process accounts for the fact that dilute solutions of sodium dichromate show greater activity than more concentrated ones since most of the ions present are in the hexavalent state        0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 … valence state concentration [mol /L ] [ mol/L ]

[Cr(OH)3] [Cr(OH)4–] [Cr(OH)5] [CrO2–] [Cro4 2–] [Cro5–] [Cro6 2–] Cro7 3– Cro8 4– … x x x x (1-x) (1-x) 0 0 0 ..    = k1 [Cro6 2– ][H+ ] / k –1[Cro5][H+ ]   + k2[Cro7 3– ][H+ ] / k – 2[Cro6 2– ][H+ ]   + k3[CrO4 2– ][H+ }) / k – 3[ Cro7 3– ][H+ ]  … …where k0 designates the sum of all rate constants for reactions leading toward hexavalent state under specified conditions; under basic conditions these will be slow processes.

Consequently at low hydroxide concentrations corresponding to just enough alkalinity for protection against corrosion by atmospheric carbon dioxide water will be close to saturation concerning hexavalent states.

At sufficiently high pH all dissolved species except hexaaquochromium will be precipitated as hydroxides.[citation needed].

In practical terms maximum solubility corresponds approximately to a pH between 2 and 3; above pH 4 precipitation of hydroxo complexes starts becoming significant.[citation needed]. At even higher pH precipitation becomes rapid enough that green Destiny precipitation.

Properties And Characteristics

Chromium is a strong, corrosion-resistant metal with many uses in field. It has the highest Electrical conductivity of any allowable element and can be found naturally occurring as well or synthetically produced for specific purposes such as polishing compounds used on jewelry stones to make them sparkle more brightly than they would otherwise do.

High Polish, High Melting

Chromium is a steel-gray, hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point. It is an essential trace element for steelmaking and other alloys. In the past chromium was used for electroplating, but this use has declined due to environmental concerns. The main uses now are in stainless steel, alloy steel, and non-ferrous alloys. 

Chromium Forms

Chromium oxide is used as a green pigment and in glass production. Chromium forms two main oxidation states, +3 and +6. The +3 state is more stable in solution and is the only one found in nature as it is the sole form of chromium in the mineral chromite Cr2O3. The +6 state is found in a few compounds such as chromic acid H2CrO4 and dichromate ion Cr2O72-. 

Pure Chromium Is A Bit Fragile

Pure chromium is brittle with a red-streaked fracture surface due to impurities. As it has relatively poor resistance to oxidation at room temperature, pure chromium must be protected by an oxide coating if stored in the air; even though chromium has a higher melting point than most metals, it easily oxidizes at room temperature and begins to corrode between 100°C and 150°C in the air unless protected by an oxide film or passivation layer. 

Solubility of Chromium Compounds

Compounds of chromium have varying degrees of solubility depending on the oxidation state of chromium; for example, CrCl3·nH2O (s) decomposes above room temperature to give CrCl3 (aq) whilst dichromate ion Cr2O7 2- exists in water solution. At lower temperatures (less than about 150°C) many solid compounds can be formed from solutions containing their component ions; this process gives some idea of how complex some transition metal ions can be when surrounded by ligand molecules or ions. 

Temperature affects the physical properties of chromium

For instance, it expands by about 6% on cooling from 1000 K to 300 K. Below room temperature pure chromium can exist in two different allotropes: face-centered cubic (fcc) or body-centered cubic (bcc). 

Chrome Production

In 2004 world’s production of chromite ore were 22 million tonnes with South Africa accounting for 48%, India 15%, Kazakhstan 12%, and Brazil 8%. Recycling plays an important role as well because it conserves energy and natural resources needed to produce new chromium metal.

Uses of chromium metal in various industries

It is an essential trace element in steel, an alloy with many other metals. It is used as chrome plating to provide a corrosion-resistant surface. Chromium oxide is used to produce heat-resistant alloys and electric resistance heating elements. 

Action In The Oxidative State

In the oxidation state +3, chromium is used as a catalytic agent in organic synthesis, e.g., in the production of vinyl chloride from ethylene. In the +6 oxidation state, it is used in the chromate process for leather tanning and in alizarin dyeing. The main ore of chromium is chromite (Cr2O3). Pure chromium is produced by reducing aluminum chromate with sodium metal or calcium metal. The main compounds of chromium are chromates and dichromates of sodium (Na2CrO4), potassium (K2CrO4), and lead (PbCrO4). Hexavalent chromates are more toxic than the corresponding trivalent compounds because they are more easily absorbed through the skin. 

Widely Used In Industry

The metal has many physical properties that make it suitable for a wide range of applications in industry. It has a high melting point, a high boiling point, and good ductility. It is also resistant to corrosion and has a multivalent redox potential. Chromium compounds are used as pigments and as catalysts. It is used as an alloying agent in steel production and in the manufacture of stainless steel, Hastelloy, Inconel, Rigidity, Incoloy, FeCrAl alloys, and other superalloys. 

It is also used in chrome plating and as an electrolyte in electroplating baths. Chromic acid (H2CrO4) is used as an oxidizing agent in textile bleaching and printing processes. Potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7) is used as an oxidizing agent in chemical analysis and as a mordant in textile dyeing processes. Sodium dichromate (Na2Cr2O7) is used as an antifreeze solution, as an electrolyte in some electroplating baths, and as a rust-preventative coating on steel products. Chromates and dichromates are also used as wood preservatives and pesticides because they are effective against termites and other wood-destroying insects. 

Chromium compounds are also used in the tanning of leather where they react with collagen fibers to produce water-resistant crosslinks. Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) was formerly used as a wood preservative but has been replaced by safer alternatives such as amine copper quaternary (ACQ) due to its health hazards associated with exposure to arsenic compounds. Hexavalent chromium compounds such as sodium dichromate are human carcinogens when inhaled so their use should be minimized to protect workers’ health.


The chromium metal has many important uses across a variety of industries. Whatever the application, it’s clear that the product plays an important role in many industries today.

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