Editorial Feature

Industrial Use of Chromium Salts

This article considers the properties and industrial uses of chromium salts. 

chromium, chromium salts, salts, insulin, corrosion

Image Credit: Sadovnikova Olga/Shutterstock.com

Chromium is the first member of Group 6 of the periodic table, and it is denoted by the symbol Cr. The element's source is the earth's crust, which is rigid, shiny, and hard. Chromium is derived economically from chromites, which are a common mineral. It has a high melting temperature, is corrosion-resistant, and is oxidation resistant.

Iron is removed from chromium salts with the aid of sodium carbonate and calcium oxide, resulting in water-soluble chromium salts. Chromium inorganic salts are usually found as crystalline powder or flakes that are water-soluble. Chromium salts come in a range of colors, with yellow being the most common.

Furthermore, their water solubility differs in some amount. The solubility property, on the other hand, rises when the oxidation state increases. Acidification converts chromate to sodium dichromate, which is utilized as a starting material for the production of additional inorganic chromium salts. The remarkable resistance of chromium salts to solid chromium corrosion is crucial in the chromium-plating process.

Properties of Chromium Salts

Chromium salts are generally soluble in water, acids and alkalis, alcohol, and acetone to some degree. These salts have a wide range of melting points, ranging from 180 to 2500°C in most cases.

Significant Inorganic Chemicals: Chromium Salts

Chromium salts are chemical products that account for around 15% of all global economic goods. China is the world's biggest producer of chromium salts, accounting for 40% of total worldwide output since 2009. China and other chromium salt manufacturers are focused on improving the efficiency of their manufacturing processes.

Further Reading: Novel Efficient and Economical Process for the Production of Cr2O3 from Chromite Ore

In these rising markets, the dye and pigment business, which incorporates the paint market, is quickly expanding, and therefore the market for chromium salts is expected to rise in the coming years. The pigmentation market in the United States is stable, but it is predicted to develop significantly in the coming years. The need for chromium salts is rising each year due to increased demand from varied uses such as metal, textile, and water treatments. The chromium salt market is now in a sustained development phase, with prices also reducing.

Industrial Uses of Chromium Salts

One of the most common types of inorganic salts is chromium salt. Electrodeposition, dyeing, printmaking, and staining, as well as medication, fuel, catalysts, oxidizing agents, explosives, and metal corrosion inhibitors, are just a few of the applications.

Chromium Nitrate is the most common chromium salt used as a mordant and corrosion inhibitor in chromium-containing catalysts, glassware, ceramic glazes, printmaking, and garment dyeing. Chromium chloride is a popular chromium salt that is used for electroplating and as a mordant. It may also be used as a disintegration reagent since it can absorb oxygen.

Current Challenges for Chromium Salts

Citrus and lime-free roasting techniques are the conventional ways of producing chromium salt. These methods, on the other hand, have major flaws, producing ecological harm and poor resource use. This condition lowers the atmospheric rate of mass transfer in the process, resulting in a poor chromium extraction rate.

Moreover, the production process consumes more energy as a result of all this. Lime-free roasting techniques generate lower-toxicity residues and are now commonly employed in industrial production operations. However, owing to the creation of a molten form between the chromate mineral particles at 1200 °C temperature, this procedure is difficult.

Also, chromium salts have carcinogenic tendencies that are likely to impact those who operate with these salts daily, thus suitable safety equipment should be used while encountering such salts. Because of these detrimental features, there are a variety of environmental norms and regulations in place, particularly in Europe and the United States.

Recent Studies Regarding Chromium Salts

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrinopathy in sexually active women, with origins that are yet unknown. The importance of insulin sensitivity in the etiology and pathogenesis of PCOS is recognized, which led to efforts to use chromium salts to supplement medication in patients.

The prospect of employing chromium salts to treat mood issues in PCOS patients is a brand novel concept that has yet to be researched. There are now insufficient data to recommend chromium salts as a benchmark for treatment and avoiding insulin resistance in PCOS patients. However, this path remains open, and addressing insulin resistance in medical care is a significant problem.

References and Further Reading 

Piotrowska, A. et al. (2019) ‘The Possibilities of Using Chromium Salts as an Agent Supporting Treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome’, Biological Trace Element Research, 192(2), pp. 91–97. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12011-019-1654-5

Religa, P., Kowalik, A. and Gierycz, P. (2011) ‘A new approach to chromium concentration from salt mixture solution using nanofiltration’, Separation and Purification Technology, 82(1), pp. 114–120. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304389420320720

Zhao, Q. et al. (2017) ‘A cleaner method for preparation of chromium oxide from chromite’, Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 105, pp. 91–100. https://research.abo.fi/en/publications/a-cleaner-method-for-preparation-of-chromium-oxide-from-chromite

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Usman Ahmed

Written by

Usman Ahmed

Usman holds a master's degree in Material Science and Engineering from Xian Jiaotong University, China. He worked on various research projects involving Aerospace Materials, Nanocomposite coatings, Solar Cells, and Nano-technology during his studies. He has been working as a freelance Material Engineering consultant since graduating. He has also published high-quality research papers in international journals with a high impact factor. He enjoys reading books, watching movies, and playing football in his spare time.

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