Most of the chromite produced goes into steels. The rest is used for special steel alloys, chrome metal super alloys, chrome chemicals and chrome-based refractory products.
A Multiplicity of Use
Chrome’s versatility soon became even more evident. While paint remained the main application for many years, in the 19th century potassium dichromate was found to be an excellent mordant in textile dyeing. A mordant (from the Latin mordere, to bite) helps dyes attach and adhere to fabric. A few years later, chromic sulphate was introduced in a process for tanning leather. A related application – chrome’s use as a timber preservative – dates from the early 20th century.
The 1850s saw the discovery of chromium plating – an electrodeposition that gives metal certain properties, including abrasion and wear resistance, corrosion protection, lubricity and aesthetic qualities.
Quite late in the 19th century, chrome began to be used in refractory bricks (an application which saw substantial growth in the 1930s). Its use in foundry sands, for moulding, did not come until the 20th century.
Uses of chromium: