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Fact Sheet 2010–3089

USGS Mineral Resources Program

Chromium—Makes Stainless Steel Stainless

By S.J. Kropschot and Jeff Doebrich

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Chromium, a steely-gray, lustrous, hard metal that takes a high polish and has a high melting point, is a silvery white, hard, and bright metal plating on steel and other material. Commonly known as chrome, it is one of the most important and indispensable industrial metals because of its hardness and resistance to corrosion. But it is used for more than the production of stainless steel and nonferrous alloys; it is also used to create pigments and chemicals used to process leather.

First posted October 2010

For additional information contact:
Mineral Resources Program Coordinator
U.S. Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS 913
Reston, VA 20192
Phone: (703) 648-6100

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Suggested citation:

Kropschot, S.J., and Doebrich, Jeff, 2010, Chromium—Makes stainless steel stainless: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010–3089, 2 p. (Also available at

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