Introduction to the Use and Application of Chromium

Chromium is a hard metal that is resistant to corrosion. It is widely used in metallurgy, chemical, cast iron, fire-resistant, and high-end technology. The specific application ratio is shown in the following figure:

specific application ratio of Chromium

Chromium in the Metallurgical Industry

Chromium is a hard metal, and is often incorporated into steel to make hard and corrosion-resistant alloys. Those alloys are mainly used to refine stainless steel, heat-resistant steel and various electric heating materials. When stainless steel encounters corrosive substances, its surface will form a fine and solid chrome oxide film, which protects the internal metal from corrosion. Some stainless steel can maintain its excellent performance even at high temperature of 800 °C. Chrome steel is a good material for manufacturing machinery, tanks and armored vehicles.

Chromium tank

Chromium in the Chemical Industry

Chromium salt is one of the main varieties of inorganic salts and is the main raw material in the chemical industry. It is widely used in daily life, including electroplating, tanning, printing and dyeing, medicine, fuel, catalyst, oxidant, match and metal corrosion inhibitor.

Chromium barrel

At the same time, metallic chromium has been listed as one of the most important coating metals–chromium sputtering targets for sputter deposition and chromium evaporation materials for evaporation coating. In most cases, the chrome layer is specifically used as the outermost coating for the parts. When chrome is applied, the thinner the chrome layer, the closer it is to the surface of the metal. The chrome layer on the inner walls of some is only five thousandths of a millimeter thick, but after firing thousands of rounds and bullets, the chrome layer still exists. If the surface is not chrome-plated, the service life of most parts will be greatly shortened due to wear and corrosion, and must be replaced or repaired frequently. Therefore, chrome plating is widely used in many industrial manufacturing.

Chromium for Refractory and Cast Iron

Chromite has a high melting point of 1900 °C – 2050 °C, and it can maintain the volume at high temperature and does not react with any slag, so it is used as a lining for refractory materials, steelmaking furnaces and non-ferrous metal smelting furnaces.

chrome bricks

Chromite can be used to make chrome bricks, chrome-magnesia bricks and other special refractory materials. In addition, chromium is also used in cast iron, such as chromium cast ductile iron, which has high strength, high elongation, high impact value and low hardness.

For more information, please visit

Basic Knowledge of Refractory Metal Tantalum

Tantalum Overview

Tantalum is part of the refractory metal group and it has good physical and chemical properties.

Tantalum has high hardness that can reach 6-6.5. Its melting point is as high as 2996 ° C, only after carbon, tungsten, rhenium and osmium. Tantalum is malleable and can be drawn into a thin foil. Its coefficient of thermal expansion is very small, and it only expands by 6.6 parts per million per degree Celsius. In addition, it has a strong toughness and is superior to copper.

Refractory Metal tantalum
Refractory Metal Tantalum

Tantalum does not react with hydrochloric acid, concentrated nitric acid and “aqua regia” under both cold and hot conditions. And tantalum is only corroded by concentrated sulfuric acid at temperatures above 150 °C. Tantalum can be considered one of the most chemically stable metals at temperatures below 150 °C. It is also highly resistant to corrosion because of the formation of a stable tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5) protective layer on its surface.

Tantalum Application

Tantalum can be used to manufacture evaporation vessels, as well as tubes, rectifiers, and electrolytic capacitors. Tantalum forms a stable anodized film in an acidic electrolyte. The electrolytic capacitor made of tantalum has the advantages of large capacity, small size and good reliability. Tantalum capacitors are the most important use of tantalum, around 2/3 of the full use of tantalum. Tantalum is also the material for making electron-emitting tubes and high-power tube parts. Anti-corrosion equipment made by Tantalum is used in the chemical industry such as strong acid, bromine and ammonia producing industries. The metal tantalum can be used as a structural material for the combustion chamber of an aircraft engine. Tantalum is easy to form and can be used as support accessories, heat shields, heaters and heat sinks in high temperature vacuum furnaces. Tantalum can also be used as orthopedic and surgical materials. Tantalum sputtering targets and tantalum evaporation materials are important coating materials in physical vapor deposition.

tantalum capacitor
tantalum capacitor

High Purity Tantalum Preparation

The chemical inertness and relatively low price of tantalum make it a good alternative to platinum.  However, high-purity tantalum is not easy to get because it is always found together with niobium in the mineral groups of tantalite, columbite, and coltan. To get high purity tantalum, here are several methods.

1 Tantalum powder can be obtained by metal thermal reduction (sodium thermal reduction) method. The potassium fluotantalate is reduced with sodium metal under an inert atmosphere: K2TaF7 + 5Na-→Ta+5NaF+2KF. The reaction was carried out in a stainless steel tank, and the reaction was quickly completed when the temperature was heated to 900 °C. The powder prepared by this method has irregular grain shape and fine particle size, and is suitable for making tantalum capacitors.

2 The tantalum powder can also be obtained by molten salt electrolysis: a molten salt of a mixture of potassium fluoroantimonate, potassium fluoride and potassium chloride is used as an electrolyte, and tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5) is dissolved therein and electrolyzed at 750 °C. This method can obtain a bismuth powder having a purity of 99.8 to 99.9%.

3 Tantalum can also be obtained by carbothermal reduction of Ta2O5. The reduction is generally carried out in two steps: first, a mixture of a certain ratio of Ta2O5 and carbon is made into tantalum carbide (TaC) at 1800 to 2000 ° C in a hydrogen atmosphere. Then, TaC and Ta2O5 are prepared into a mixture in a certain ratio, and reduced to tantalum in a vacuum.

4 Tantalum can also be obtained by thermal decomposition or hydrogen reduction of chloride. The dense metal crucible can be prepared by vacuum arc, electron beam, plasma beam melting or powder metallurgy.

Please visit for more information.

Multiple Applications of Silver

Medical uses of silver

Silver is used in many medical applications due to its antibacterial properties. Most medical devices, such as bandages, wound cleansers, catheters, pacemakers, valves and feeding tubes, that comes into contact with the body contain silver. The hospital also uses silver in air ducts to prevent certain conditions, such as Legionnaires Disease.

Silver for textiles

The thermal and biological properties of silver make it an ideal choice for the commercial textile industry. Silver is used in the anti-microbial properties of high-end sportswear to inhibit the growth of bacteria that can cause odors. Traditionally, silver and gold threads have been woven into clothing.


Silver for food and water

Silver will play an important role in the food industry in the next decade. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the addition of silver to bottled water to help kill bacteria, which opened the door for major municipalities to use white water for clean water at local communities, cities and state levels. Silver tip cutting tools are used for meat processing. It is also used in the processing of milk, cheese making and baking.

Silver superconductor

Another important use of silver is as a superconductor, mainly for large industrial and military electric motors. For a while, silver was used as a strategic reserve for military applications.

Other applications of silver

In addition to the above aspects, silver has many other uses. Silver is used as a wood preservative. Silver sputtering targets and silver evaporating materials are used for vacuum coating. The silver coating plays a key role in the solar power industry. Solar cells coated with silver absorb light and convert it into electricity.


From the perspective of industrial applications, the future of silver is indeed very obvious. Many industrial applications will continue to use silver, and many new applications for silver will continue to grow at a significant rate.

Please visit for more information.

Molybdenum Application for Metallurgy

Molybdenum, a silvery-grey metal, does not seem to be as popular as tit anium, aluminum, and platinum. But it is actually a very widely used metal in our life. Today, we will introduce the application of molybdenum in metallurgy.

Molybdenum in Metallurgy

Steel Metallurgy

The main use of molybdenum for metallurgy is to produce various types of steel and alloys. The addition of molybdenum (mainly in the form of ferromolybdenum, molybdenum oxide, and calcium molybdate) to a range of steels such as structural steel, spring steel, bearing steel, tool steel, stainless steel, and magnetic steel can significantly improve the properties of steel.


Molybdenum improves the hardenability, toughness and heat strength of steel and prevents temper brittleness. It also improves the corrosion resistance of steel to certain media so that it does not pit. In addition, adding molybdenum into the cast iron enhances the strength and wear resistance of the cast iron.

Nonferrous Metallurgy

In non-ferrous metal alloys, molybdenum can be alloyed with metals such as nickel, cobalt, ruthenium, aluminum, and titanium. These molybdenum alloys are used in the electronics, electrical industry, and machinery industries to make filament and tube parts for light bulbs; they can also be used to make parts such as electromagnetic contacts, gas engine blades, valve protection, and electric furnace resistance.

nickel molybdenum alloy
Nickel Molybdenum Alloy

Molybdenum can improve the heat resistance and corrosion resistance of non-ferrous alloys and is an important element of nonferrous metallurgy.

Metal Processing

Molybdenum and its alloys can be used in a variety of molds, cores, perforated bars, tool holders and chill plates for metalworking.


Tools made of molybdenum can improve the processing speed and feed rate of metal processing, reduce the wear and deformation of metal parts, and thus extend the service life of the workpiece. These tools can also be used to machine large-sized parts and improve the accuracy of the workpiece.

Resistance welding electrodes made of molybdenum can be used for electronic brazing and welding of copper, brass and other materials with high thermal conductivity.

The molybdenum tip has a long service life and does not contaminate the workpiece, so it is suitable for processing electronic products.

Molybdenum can be used to make test dies for steel samples, which is very durable.

In addition, some metals require high temperature treatment in hydrogen, inert gas or vacuum, and molybdenum boats are ideal containers for holding such metals.

Molybdenum Boat
Molybdenum Boat

SAM Sputter Targets Corporation is a global evaporation material and sputtering target manufacturing company. Please visit for more information.

Holmium Oxide Introduction (Properties & Applications)


Holmium oxide is a chemical compound of rare-earth element holmium and oxygen with the formula Ho2O3. Together with dysprosium oxide, it is considered one of the most paramagnetic substances known. Holmium oxide is one of the constituents of erbium oxide minerals. In the natural state, holmium oxide often coexists with trivalent oxides of lanthanides, and we need special methods to separate them. Holmium oxide can be used to prepare a glass of a particular color. The visible absorption spectrum of Ho2O3-containing glasses and solutions has a series of sharp peaks and is therefore traditionally used as a standard for spectroscopic calibration.


Appearance  Light yellow or yellow powder, belonging to the equiaxed crystal yttria type structure
Density (g/mL, 25 ° C)  8.16
Melting point (° C)  2415
Boiling point (° C, atmospheric pressure)  3900
Solubility  insoluble in water, soluble in acid
Chemical reaction  Ho2O3+ 6 NH4Cl → 2 HoCl3+ 6 NH3+ 3 H2O


It is used to manufacture new light source xenon lamps, and can also be used as an additive for yttrium iron obtained from yttrium aluminum garnet and to prepare metal holmium. Holmium oxide can be used as a yellow and red colorant for Soviet diamonds and glass. Glass containing holmium oxide and holmium oxide solution (often perchloric acid solution) have sharp absorption peaks in the spectrum of 200-900 nm, and thus can be used as a standard for spectrometer calibration and have been commercialized. Like other rare earth elements, cerium oxide is also used as a special catalyst, phosphor, laser and coating material (sputtering targets & evaporation materials).

Holmium Oxide (Ho2O3) Sputtering Target

Holmium oxide sputtering targets

Holmium oxide sputtering targets with the highest quality can be used in semiconductor, chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and physical vapor deposition (PVD) applications. Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM) Sputtering Target Manufacturer offers target bonding service, reclaim service and customized service, which can help you make full use of the coating materials.

Please visit for more information.

Gadolinium Oxide Products (Powder & Coating Materials & Microcrystal )

Rare earth oxides (REOs) have gained more and more attention due to their unique magnetic, luminescent, and electrochemical properties. They are used for applications in various industries such as nuclear, electronics, lasers, and etc. Among them, although Gadolinium oxide (Gd2O3) is not the most widely used REOs, but is the most researched one.

The key property of Gadolinium Oxide

Chemical formula Gd2O3
Molar mass 362.50 g/mol
Magnetic susceptibility +53,200·10−6 cm3/mol
Density 7.41 (g/cm3)
Melting Point 2330  (°C)

Gadolinium oxide preparation

Gadolinium oxide can be formed by thermal decomposition of the hydroxide, nitrate, carbonate, or oxalates. Specifically, first, use monazite or a mixed rare earth ore as the raw material. Then Extract and purify the ore to prepare the samarium-gadolinium mixed rare earth solution. Use oxalic acid to precipitate gadolinium oxalic acid. Then separate, dry, and burn the gadolinium oxalic acid to obtain gadolinium oxide.

Gadolinium oxide powder

Gadolinium oxide is a white powder. It is insoluble in water but soluble in acid. It easily absorbs moisture and carbon dioxide from the air. It can be used as a raw material for various fluorescent compounds, absorption material in atomic reactions, nuclear fuels, magnetic bubble material, screen-sensitivity increasing material, as well as many other applications in the chemical, glass and electronic industries.

Gadolinium Oxide (Gd2O3) Powder
Gadolinium Oxide (Gd2O3) Powder

Gadolinium oxide sputtering target

Gadolinium oxide sputtering target is the product made of gadolinium oxide materials by casting or powder metallurgy. Common shapes of the gadolinium oxide sputter targets are planar, circular, rotary, and rectangular. In general, planar targets are cheaper but rotary targets have a higher utilization rate. Gadolinium oxide sputtering target is specially used in the sputtering process (a method of physical vapor deposition) to form a film on the substrate of glass, metal or other materials. Its purpose is either to protect the substrate or improve its properties.

Gadolinium Oxide (Gd2O3) Sputtering Target
Gadolinium Oxide (Gd2O3) Sputtering Target

Gadolinium oxide microcrystal

Gadolinium oxide microcrystal is defined as the gadolinium oxide nanomaterial with at least one direction usually in the range of 1–100 nm. These materials have different physical, chemical, and electrical properties in comparison with traditional bulk gadolinium oxide materials. These nanomaterials have the crystallographic stability up to temperatures of 2325°C, high mechanical strength, excellent thermal conductivity, and a wide band optical gap. Thus, they are used for new products and applications and may also be incorporated into various industrial processes in the nuclear industry, electronics, lasers, and optical material.

Gadolinium Oxide (Gd2O3) Nanomaterial
Gadolinium Oxide (Gd2O3) Nanomaterial

Please visit for more information.

Who discovered Iridium? | History of Metal


Iridium, a very hard, brittle, silvery-white transition metal of the platinum group, is the second-densest metal (after osmium) with a density of 22.56 g/cm3 as defined by experimental X-ray crystallography.



Smithson Tennant

Smithson TennantIridium was discovered together with osmium in1803 by English chemist Smithson Tennant in London. When crude platinum was dissolved in dilute aqua regia (a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids), it left behind a black residue. Because of the black color, it was initially thought to be graphite. By treating it alternately with alkalis and acids, Tennant was able to separate it into two new elements. These he announced at the Royal Institution in London, naming one iridium (comeing from the Latin word ‘iris’, meaning rainbow) because many of its salts were so colorful; and the other osmium (derived from osme, the Greek word for smell) because it had a curious odor.


Name Iridium
Symbol Ir
Color silvery-white
CAS number 7439-88-5
Melting point 2446°C, 4435°F, 2719 K
Boiling point 4428°C, 8002°F, 4701 K
Density (g cm−3) 22.5622


Iridium is a rare, hard, lustrous, brittle, very dense platinum-like metal. Chemically it is almost as unreactive as gold. It is the most corrosion-resistant metal known and it resists attack by any acid. Iridium is generally credited with being the second densest element (after osmium) based on measured density, although calculations involving the space lattices of the elements show that iridium is denser.


Due to its good corrosion-resistance, it is used of as a hardening agent for special alloy or to form an alloy with osmium, which is used for bearing compass and tipping pens.

Iridium Application

Iridium is used in making Iridium crucibles and other equipment that is used at high temperatures. Iridium sputtering target is a coating material to produce Iridium film, which is used as protective film or heavy-duty electrical contacts. In addition, Iridium was used in making the international standard kilogram, which is an alloy of 90% platinum and 10% iridium.

Please visit for more information.


Reference: “Iridium.” Chemicool Periodic Table. 17 Oct. 2012. Web. 3/21/2019 <>.

Planar Sputtering Target: Pros and Cons

Although the rotary targets have developed in recent years, the mainstream shape of the sputtering target is still the planar type. Today let us take a look at the pros and cons of planar targets to help you determine whether a planar sputtering target is suitable for your project.

Advantages of Planar Sputter Target

Simple structure – one of the main advantages of the planar target is that the structure is simple. The common planar targets on the market are rectangular planar targets and circular planar targets, which are easily produced by molds. In other words, planar target preparation requires fewer machines and technologies and is easier to prepare. This is why planar targets still dominate the sputtering target market.

Planar sputtering target mould

Low price – You can never deny that the price is always an important competitive factor. As mentioned above, the manufacturing process of the planar sputter target is easier, so its price is much lower than the rotatory sputter target.

Strong versatility – Planar sputtering targets usually have strong versatility. Therefore, the transportation of the planar targets is relatively simple and is not easily damaged during transportation.

Good uniformity and repeatability – Film layers sputtered by planar targets usually boast good uniformity and repeatability. Planar targets are still best suited for prototype work or elemental experimentation, especially when large amounts of material are not needed at once.

Disadvantages of Planar Sputter Target

Its biggest disadvantage is the low utilization rate (generally only about 20%).  In the sputtering process of the planar target,  a strip-shaped pit will be formed when the target of the glow region (the magnetic field distribution region) is consumed to a certain extent, making the target body thinner. And once the pit depth reaches a certain value, the target cannot be utilized anymore. The low utilization rate also reduces its price advantage to some extent.

In conclusion, planar targets are still the best choice for prototype work or elemental experimentation, especially when large amounts of material are not needed at once. But its disadvantage of low utilization rate (20% vs. 80% compared with the rotatory target) does constrain its development.

Next week, let us look at the biggest competitor of the planar target– the rotatory target. Weighting the pros and cons of these two types of sputtering target may help you better choose the one for your application.

Please visit for more information.

Who Discovered Yttrium? | Metal History

Yttrium is a silvery-metallic transition metal chemically similar to the lanthanides and has often been classified as a “rare-earth element“. Yttrium was discovered as early as the 18th century, but it has not been widely used until the last few decades in chemistry, physics, computer technology, film coating, medicine and other fields.

Yttrium History

In 1787, while the Swedish chemist Carl Axel Arrhenius exploring a quarry near Ytterby, a small town near Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, he discovered an unusual black rock. He thought that he had discovered a new mineral, and sent some specimens to Johan Gadolin, a Finnish mineralogist, for analysis.

During the analysis, Gadolin isolated the yttrium from the mineral. The mineral was later named gadolinite in Gadolin’s honor, and Yttrium was named Ytterby from where the mineral was discovered.

In 1843, a Swedish chemist named Carl Gustaf Mosander studied yttrium samples and discovered three oxides, which were called yttria, erbia and terbia at that time. Currently, they are known as yttrium oxide (white), terbium oxide (yellow), and erbium oxide (rose-colored). A fourth oxide, ytterbium oxide, was identified in 1878.

Yttrium, a transition metal

In the Periodic Table of Elements, yttrium is considered one of the transition metals (yellow in the pic). Other more well-known transition metal elements include gold, silver and iron. The transition metals are the metallic elements that serve as a bridge, or transition, between the two sides of the table. They tend to be strong but pliable, therefore, some of these metals are widely used for wires. Yttrium wires and rods are used in electronics and solar energy. Yttrium is also used in lasers, ceramics, camera lenses, sputtering targets and dozens of other items.

Periodic Table
Periodic Table

Yttrium, a rare earth metal

Yttrium is also one of the seventeen rare-earth elements. The rare-earth elements include yttrium, scandium and 15 lanthanides. They have become indispensible in the manufacturing of cell phones and other technology. Despite their name, rare-earth elements are rather plentiful around the world. Yttrium can be found in most of the rare earth minerals, but has never been discovered in the Earth’s crust as a freestanding element.

Yttrium Properties

Atomic number 38
Atomic symbol Y
Atomic mass 88.906
Melting point 2,772 Fahrenheit (1,522 Celsius)
Boiling point 6,053 F (3,345 C)
Density 4.47 grams per cubic centimeter
State at room temperature Solid

Yttrium Applications

Yttrium metal is used as:

A deoxidizer for vanadium and other non-ferrous metals.

A nebulizer for nodular cast iron.

A catalyst for ethylene polymerization.

Added in small quantities to reduce the grain size in chromium, molybdenum, etc., as well as to strengthen aluminum and magnesium alloys.

Yttrium sputtering target for film coating.

Yttrium compounds have the following uses:

Yttrium oxide is used to produce yttrium iron garnets.

Yttrium oxide is used in ceramic and glass formulations.

Yttrium oxide is widely used for making compounds such as YVO4europium and YVO4europium phosphors in television tubes.

Yttrium iron (Y3Fe5O12), yttrium aluminium (Y3Al5O12) and yttrium gadolinium garnets possess interesting magnetic properties.

Yttrium iron garnets are extremely efficient transmitters and transducers of acoustic energy.

Yttrium aluminum garnet has a hardness of 8.5 and is finding application as a gemstone.

Yttrium oxide sputtering target is used for film coating.

Please visit for more information.

How was Chromium discovered? | Metal History

Chromium Discovery

In 1766, the German scientist Johann Gottlob Lehmann analyzed a Siberian ore and determined that it contained lead, which was classified as Siberian red lead.

Louis Nicolas Vauquelin
Louis Nicolas Vauquelin


In 1797, a bright red ore was found in the Siberian gold mine. The French chemist Louis Nicolas Vauquelin boiled the mineral with potassium carbonate, and got the lead carbonate and a yellow potassium salt solution of chromic acid. He added a high-mercury salt solution to the yellow solution, and a beautiful red solution appeared; the lead salt solution was added, and a yellowish precipitate appeared; when stannous chloride was added, the solution turned into a crisp green color. He thought that he had found a new metal, which was exactly chromium. The method produces metal chromium.

Chromium can produce beautiful multi-colored compounds: metallic chromium is silvery, chromium sulfate is green, magnesium chromate is yellow, potassium dichromate is orange, chromic is scarlet, and chromium oxide is green, chrome tanning is blue-violet, lead chromate is yellow…Thus Chromium got its name from the Greek word chroma, meaning color, and the chemical symbol is Cr.

Multiple colors of Chromium compounds
Multiple colors of Chromium compounds

Chromium Applications

Chromium was initially used as a pigment. At present, nearly all chromium is commercially extracted from chromite, also known as iron chromium oxide (FeCr2O4).

Chromium was considered to be a component of plants and animals in 1948. It was found to be biologically active in 1954. In 1957, chromium was identified as an essential trace element for animal nutrition. Chromium can act as an enhancer of insulin, affecting the metabolism of sugars, proteins, fats and nucleic acids through insulin.

As a metal element, chromium also has high industrial value. Chromium is widely used in metallurgy, chemical, cast iron, refractory and high-end technology industries.

Chromium Coating
Chromium Coating

Chromium sputtering target is an excellent film coating material applied for decorative coating, tool coating, semiconductor coating and so on.

Please visit for more information.