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Chrome Ore / Chromite

Chromite is an oxide min­er­al com­posed of chromi­um, iron, and oxy­gen. It is dark gray to black in col­or with a metal­lic to sub metal­lic lus­ter and a high spe­cif­ic grav­i­ty. It occurs in basic and ultra basic igneous rocks and in the meta­mor­phic and sed­i­men­ta­ry rocks that are pro­duced when chromite-bear­ing rocks are altered by heat or weath­er­ing. Chromite is impor­tant because it is the only eco­nom­ic ore of chromi­um, an essen­tial ele­ment for a wide vari­ety of met­al, chem­i­cal, and man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts. Many oth­er min­er­als con­tain chromi­um, but none of them are found in deposits that can be eco­nom­i­cal­ly mined to pro­duce chromi­um.

Phys­i­cal Prop­er­ties of Chromite
Chem­i­cal Clas­si­fi­ca­tionOxide
Col­orDark gray to black, rarely brown­ish black
StreakDark brown
Lus­terMetal­lic to sub­metal­lic
Mohs Hard­ness5.5 to 6
Spe­cif­ic Grav­i­ty4.0 to 5.1 (vari­able)
Diag­nos­tic Prop­er­tiesLus­ter, streak
Chem­i­cal Com­po­si­tionFeCr2O4 with mag­ne­sium sub­sti­tut­ing for iron in sig­nif­i­cant
Crys­tal Sys­temIso­met­ric
UsesAn ore of chromi­um

Uses of chrome ore

Chromi­um is a met­al used to induce hard­ness, tough­ness, and chem­i­cal resis­tance in steel. The alloy pro­duced is known as “stain­less steel” When alloyed with iron and nick­el, it pro­duces an alloy known as “nichro­ma” which is resis­tant to high tem­per­a­tures and used to make heat­ing units, ovens, and oth­er appli­ances. Thin coat­ings of chromi­um alloys are used as plat­ings an auto parts, appli­ances, and oth­er prod­ucts. These are giv­en the name “chrome plat­ed”. It is also used to make super alloys that can per­form well in the hot, cor­ro­sive, and high-stress envi­ron­ment of jet engines.
Chromium’s name comes from the Greek word “chro­ma” which means “col­or” Chromi­um is used as a pig­ment in paint. The famil­iar yel­low lines paint­ed down the cen­ter of high­ways and the yel­low paint used on school bus­es are often “chrome yel­low” — a col­or pro­duced from chromi­um pig­ment. Chromi­um is an impor­tant pig­ment in many types of paint, ink, dye, and cos­met­ics. Trace amounts of chromi­um pro­duce the col­or in many min­er­als and gem­stones. The red col­or of ruby, the pink of some sap­phires, and the green col­or of emer­ald are caused by tiny amounts of chromi­um.

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