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.

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 brick
Chrome brick

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.

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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.

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

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