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<---Vanadium       Manganese--->

Elements for Kids

Chromium

The element chromium

  • Symbol: Cr
  • Atomic Number: 24
  • Atomic Weight: 51.996
  • Classification: Transition metal
  • Phase at Room Temperature: Solid
  • Density: 7.19 grams per cm cubed
  • Melting Point: 1907°C, 3465°F
  • Boiling Point: 2671°C, 4840°F
  • Discovered by: N.L. Vauquelin in 1797


Chromium is the first element in the sixth column of the periodic table. It is classified as a transition metal. Chromium atoms have 24 electrons and 24 protons with the most abundant isotope having 28 neutrons.

Characteristics and Properties

Under standard conditions chromium is a hard silvery metal with a bluish tint. When it is exposed to air a thin layer of chromium oxide forms over the surface which protects the metal from further reaction with the air. Chromium can be polished to achieve a shiny mirror-like finish that is resistant to corrosion.

For a metal, chromium is fairly active and will react with many other metals as well as with oxygen. It will not react with water.

Chromium is known for its many colorful compounds. These include chromium(III) oxide (green), lead chromate (yellow), anhydrous chromium(III) chloride (purple), and chromium trioxide (red).

Where is chromium found on Earth?

Chromium is only found rarely as a free element in nature. It is mostly found in ores scattered throughout the Earth's crust where it is about the twenty-fourth most abundant element. The main ore that is mined for the production of chromium is cromite.

How is chromium used today?

Chromium is often mixed with other metals to make alloys. One of the most important chromium alloys is produced when chromium is mixed with steel to make stainless steel. Stainless steel is strong and resistant to corrosion. Chromium is also used to produce superalloys with nickel that are used in jet engines.

Another popular application for chromium is as a shiny silver coating on metallic surfaces. It also provides corrosion protection.

Because chromium compounds come in such a variety of colors, it has also been used as a pigment in paints. One of the most popular colors made from chrome is yellow. Many school busses are painted in chrome yellow.

Other applications for chromium include wood preservatives, tanning, as catalysts in industrial production, and magnets.

How was it discovered?

Chromium was discovered by French chemist Nicolas L. Vauquelin in 1797. He later isolated the element and gave it its name.

Where did chromium get its name?

Chromium gets its name from the Greek word "chroma" meaning color. This name was chosen because the element can form so many different colored compounds.

Isotopes

Chromium has four stable isotopes that occur in nature including 50Cr, 52Cr, 53Cr, and 54Cr with the majority of the chromium found in nature being 52Cr.

Interesting Facts about Chromium

More on the Elements and the Periodic Table

Elements
Periodic Table

Alkali Metals
Lithium
Sodium
Potassium

Alkaline Earth Metals
Beryllium
Magnesium
Calcium
Radium

Transition Metals
Scandium
Titanium
Vanadium
Chromium
Manganese
Iron
Cobalt
Nickel
Copper
Zinc
Silver
Platinum
Gold
Mercury
Post-transition Metals
Aluminum
Gallium
Tin
Lead

Metalloids
Boron
Silicon
Germanium
Arsenic

Nonmetals
Hydrogen
Carbon
Nitrogen
Oxygen
Phosphorus
Sulfur
Halogens
Fluorine
Chlorine
Iodine

Noble Gases
Helium
Neon
Argon

Lanthanides and Actinides
Uranium
Plutonium

More Chemistry Subjects

Matter
Atom
Molecules
Isotopes
Solids, Liquids, Gases
Melting and Boiling
Chemical Bonding
Chemical Reactions
Radioactivity and Radiation
Mixtures and Compounds
Naming Compounds
Mixtures
Separating Mixtures
Solutions
Acids and Bases
Crystals
Metals
Salts and Soaps
Water
Other
Glossary and Terms
Chemistry Lab Equipment
Organic Chemistry
Famous Chemists


Science >> Chemistry for Kids >> Periodic Table





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