Chromium a chemical element represented with the symbol Cr and is the first element of Group 6 in the periodic table. The origin of the element is the earth’s crust and it is brittle, lustrous and hard. Chromium is commercially extracted from chromites, which is a very commonly found ore. The element has a high melting point, resists corrosion and is highly tarnish resistant. The element blends with a number of other elements to form metal compounds. Chromium comes under the transition elements group. Chromium is derived from the Greek word chroma which means color, owing to many of its compounds which are very intensely colored.
Its main applications are in metallurgy, dyes and pigments, in wood preservative, tanning, as a refractory material and as a catalyst. Chromium salts are manufactured by the removal of iron with the help of sodium carbonate and calcium oxide in order to form water-soluble chromium salts. The inorganic salts of chromium always occur as a crystalline powder or as flakes, which are soluble in water. The salts of chromium are of various colors of the rainbow of which yellow dominates. The melting points of these salts vary to some extent and are usually between 180 and 2500°C. In addition, their solubility in water varies to some extent. However, the solubility property increases with increase in oxidation state. By the process of acidification, chromate transforms to sodium dichromate, which is used as a raw material in order to synthesize other inorganic chromium salts. A process called chromium-plating which requires the use of chromium salts depends on the excellent resistance of the salt against corrosion of solid chromium.
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The primary factor that drives the chromium salts market is the fast growing industrialization in the emerging markets of India, China and Brazil among others. The dye and pigment market, which includes the paint market, is growing rapidly in these emerging market and hence the market for chromium salts is bound to increase over the next few years. The market for pigments in U.S. is mature and yet is expected to grow further by a huge margin in the next few years. Owing to chromium salts demand from other applications such as metal treatment, leather treatment and swater treatment, the demand of chromium salts is further increasing each year. However, chromium salts also exhibit carcinogenic properties, which are bound to affect people who work with this salt on a regular basis, and hence proper safety gear is to be utilized while handling such salts. There are various environmental rules and regulations owing to these harmful properties especially in Europe and U.S. This is one of the major restraints in the chromium salt market.
The major geographical market segments, which are taken into account for the chromium salt market, include North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific Excluding Japan, Japan and Middle East & Africa. In countries such as Sweden, the major use of these chromium compounds is in paint production, which is a growing market globally owing to the global rise in infrastructures. Currently, the chromium salt market is at a stable growth phase and the prices are also decreasing. The key manufacturing countries of chromium salts are located in South Africa, Asia Pacific Excluding Japan, Ural and New Caledonia.
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Chromium Salts Market: Key players
The main companies profiled for chromium salts are Sun Chemicals,
Bayer, BASF SE, Ciba Speciality Chemicals, Xinjiang Sing Horn Group, Oxkem Ltd among others. These companies are few of the biggest manufacturing companies that manufacture chromium salts. Sigma-Aldrich is one of the biggest suppliers of the chromium salts.
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