Symbol Cr. A hard silvery transition element; a.n. 24; r.a.m. 52.00; r.d. 7.19; m.p. 1857°C; b.p. 2672°C. The main ore is chromite (FeCr2O4). The metal has a body-centred-cubic structure. It is extracted by heating chromite with sodium chromate, from which chromium can be obtained by electrolysis. Alternatively, chromite can be heated with carbon in an electric furnace to give ferrochrome, which is used in making alloy steels. The metal is also used as a shiny decorative electroplated coating and in the manufacture of certain chromium compounds.
At normal temperatures the metal is corrosion-resistant. It reacts with dilute hydrochloric and sulphuric acids to give chromium(II) salts. These readily oxidize to the more stable chromium(III) salts. Chromium also forms compounds with the +6 oxidation state, as in chromates, which contain the CrO42− ion. The element was discovered in 1797 by Vauquelin.
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