What is the difference between chromium and chrome?

Chrome and chromium may sound like the same thing, but they are not. However, these two materials are related to one another. There is no chrome without chromium. Read below to find out the difference between chromium and chrome:


Chromium is a silver-blue coloured hard metal element found in chromite. The element is used in the manufacturing of stainless steel, production of various alloys and the compounds found in chromium can also be used to create dye as they all have vivid pigments. The most common use for chromium is for chrome plating. Two types of chromium are used for this; Hexavalent and trivalent. Although, hexavalent chromium is classified as a highly toxic element, so most chrome plating is created using trivalent chromium.


Chrome is the term used to describe an electroplated chromium layer over another metal. Normally, trivalent chromium is used to create a thin or thick layer of chrome to cover another metal for protection. Chromium’s hard, anti-corrosive properties make it the perfect element to use for plating. If a thick layer of chrome is used, this is referred to as hard chrome. Hard chrome is used to plate industrial equipment used in applications that would expose the material to high temperatures or a lot of pressure. A thin layer of chrome is referred to as thin dense chrome or decorative chrome and can be used as trimming for cars or motorbikes. It is not as strong as hard chrome plating.