Chromates and dichromates are salts of chromic acid and dichromic acid, respectively. Chromate salts contain the chromate ion, CrO42−, and have an intense yellow color. Dichromate salts contain the dichromate ion, Cr2O72−, and have an intense orange color.
- 2 CrO42− + 2 H3O+ ⇌ Cr2O72− + 3 H2O
- This equilibrium can be pushed towards dichromate by lowering the pH (making the solution more acidic) or in the other direction towards chromate by raising the pH to basic. This is a classic example of Le Chatelier's principle at work. This equilibrium is also dependent on concentration of Chromium in solution.
- They are used in environmental analysis to measure chemical oxygen demand (COD).
- They are carcinogenic. All hexavalent chromium compounds are considered toxic and carcinogenic.
- When used as oxidizing agents or titrants in a redox chemical reaction, they will turn into trivalent chromium, Cr3+, which has a distinctively different blue-green color.
- The sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), and ammonium (NH4+) salts are water soluble granular solids and are the most commonly used chromate or dichromate chemical reagents. Most chromate and dichromate salts of heavy metals, lanthanides or alkaline earth metals are only very slightly soluble in water and are thus of much less usefulness.
- Chromate conversion coatings are applied to metals for corrosion protection, and to improve paint adhesion.
- The use of chromate compounds in manufactured goods is restricted in the EU (and by market commonality the rest of the world) by EU Parliament directive 2002/95/EC
|the tetrahedral chromate ion, CrO42−
||the dichromate ion, Cr2O72−, consists of two corner-sharing tetrahedra
Chromate minerals are rarely found in the nature. The most commonly met is crocoite
. Potassium-bearing chromates and related compounds are known from Atacama desert, but are very rare minerals.