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Survey on technical and economic feasibility of the available alternatives for chromium trioxide on the market in hard/functional and decorative chrome plating

In this report, information was gathered regarding the technical and economic feasibility of alternatives to the use of chromium trioxide for functional and/or decorative chrome plating.

Published analyses of alternatives (AoA) for chromium trioxide, which are part of the applications for authorisation under REACH (EC) No. 1907/2006, were evaluated to gain an overview on possible alternative processes. By participation at a BAuA workshop on perspectives of substitution of chromium trioxide contacts to relevant actors were established. Current literature was investigated and 34 expert interviews with suppliers and users of alternatives as well as with users of chromium trioxide were conducted to identify possible alternatives and to discuss advantages and drawbacks in detail.

Plating metals or plastics with chromium trioxide is a technically stable, well established and therefore economic process that can create surfaces displaying a variety of different properties which can simultaneously fulfil multiple technical and aesthetical requirements. Until today no one-to-one replacement to chromium trioxide has been discovered for functional chrome plating, which meets all requirements at once. The same holds in quite a few cases for the deposition of thinner chromium surfaces on metals or plastics from chromium trioxide - generally referred to as "decorative chrome plating" - but where it has to be appreciated as well that these surfaces often serve important additional functions besides purely aesthetic aspects.

However, in this survey available alternatives were identified that are technically and economically feasible - sometimes in one or few uses only, but sometimes even in larger areas of application. Some of the alternatives are long-established technologies with known strengths and weaknesses. And there are developments underway that expand the fields of application and specifications of these processes.

Bibliographic information

A. Müller, H. Nicolai, W. Luther:
Survey on technical and economic feasibility of the available alternatives for chromium trioxide on the market in hard/functional and decorative chrome plating. 
1. edition. Dortmund: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin 2020. pages 104, PDF file, DOI: 10.21934/baua:report20200331

download file "Survey on technical and economic feasibility of the available alternatives for chromium trioxide on the market in hard/functional and decorative chrome plating" (PDF, 1 MB, Not barrier-free file)

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