24Cr Chromium

Year Discovered

1797

Discovered By

Nicholas Louis Vauquelin of France

Biological Rating

Necessary for all life.

Description

Named from the Greek word meaning “color”, chromium is a lustrous, hard, bluish-gray metal. It can be polished to a mirror-like finish and is often used as a decorative and protective plating or finish. Like vanadium, chromium hardens steel, so it is frequently used in alloys, especially stainless steel. Chromium compounds are all strongly colored, and this characteristic gives chromium its name. Chromium compounds are used as a yellow coloring agent in the textiles industry. It also is used in the tanning of leather. Rubies and emeralds gain their color from chromium impurities.

Biological Benefits

Chromium is a critical trace element to many species, including humans. It is used in glucose metabolism. It also enhances insulin. In humans, it can act as a stimulant.

Role in Life Processes

Necessary for full health in plants and animals.

Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 0.00002%

Sources

Chromium is chiefly obtained from the mineral chromite. It is mined in South Africa, Kazakhstan, India, Albania, and Turkey.