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10 Chromium Facts

Facts about the Element Chromium

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This is decorative chrome on a motorcycle.

This is decorative chrome on a motorcycle. Chrome refers to electroplated chromium over another metal. Chrome may be either hexavalent chromium or trivalent chromium. Hexavalent chromium is extremely toxic.

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Here are 10 fun and interesting facts about the element chromium.
  1. Chromium has atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6 on the Periodic Table.

  2. Chromium is a hard, lustrous, steel-gray metal.

  3. Stainless steel is hard and resists corrosion due to the addition of chromium.

  4. Chromium is the only element which shows antiferromagnetic ordering in its solid state at and below room temperature. Chromium becomes paramagnetic above 38°C.

  5. Trace amounts of trivalent chromium are needed for lipid and sugar metabolism. Hexavalent chromium and its compounds are extremely toxic. The +1, +4 and +5 oxidation states also occur, although they are less common.

  6. Chromium occurs naturally as a mix of three stable isotopes. 19 radioisotopes have been characterized.

  7. Chromium is used to prepare pigments (including yellow, red and green), color glass green, color rubies red and emeralds green, in some tanning processes, as a decorative and protective metal coating and as a catalyst.

  8. Chromium in air is passivated by oxygen, forming a protective layer that is essentially a spinel that is a few atoms thick.

  9. Chromium is the 21st most abundant element in the Earth's crust. It is present at a concentration of approximately 100 ppm.

  10. Most chromium is obtained by mining the mineral chromite. Although it is rare, native chromium also exists. It may be found in kimberlite pipe, where the reducing atmosphere favors the formation of diamond in addition to elemental chromium.

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