Just why are some metals coated with chromium? That is something I had always surprised and I guessed it had something to do with corrosion and rust protection. But why not make the item out of solid chromium to begin with?
For starters, some metals are covered with chromium to make them look more attractive. Chromium is shiny and sparkly – it is a good reflector and is bright. The metal is silver in appearance and can enhance all types of objects that it coats. And, sure, it certainly does protect against corrosion and tarnish.
It was discovered in 1798 and is a non-corrosive material which is very strong and resistant to heat. It is ideal for coating other metals in particular steel.
The coating process is done by electroplating – immersing the object in an electrolyte solution and passing an electric current through it. This is the only way it is done – there is no other reliable method and all other descriptions (such as "Chrome Dipping" and "Chroming") refer to electroplating methods. The electrolyte contains chromium in a different form but the chromium is displaced onto the desired object during the electroplating process.
You will see chromium plating in lots of different places and in particular on appliances around the home (for example, taps) and on automotive and motorcycle parts. Other places you might find it commonly is in the tool shed – on tools of all kinds, and on electrical equipment. Virtually every object that is chromium plated is enhanced by its presence and can be polished up to a pleasant shine.