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Science Innovation Centre · 024 · Chromium

This element is no longer available.

Chromium is a lustrous, brittle, hard metal. Its colour is silver-grey and it can be highly polished. It does not tarnish in air, when heated it burns and forms the green chromic oxide. Chromium is unstable in oxygen, it immediately produces a thin oxide layer that is impermeable to oxygen and protects the metal below.

Chromium main uses are in alloys such as stainless steel, in chrome plating and in metal ceramics. Chromium plating was once widely used to give steel a polished silvery mirror coating. Chromium is used in metallurgy to impart corrosion resistance and a shiny finish; as dyes and paints, its salts colour glass an emerald green and it is used to produce synthetic rubies; as a catalyst in dyeing and in the tanning of leather; to make moulds for the firing of bricks. Chromium (IV) oxide (CrO2) is used to manufacture magnetic tape.