Chromate Conversion is a type of conversion coating used to passivate steel, aluminum, zinc, cadmium, copper, silver, magnesium, and tin alloys. It is primarily used as a corrosion inhibitor, primer, decorative finish, or to retain electrical conductivity. The process is named after the chromate found in chromic acid, also known as hexavalent chromium, the chemical most widely used in the immersion bath process whereby the coating is applied. However, hexavalent chromium is toxic, thus, highly regulated, so new, non-hexavalent chromium-based processes are becoming more readily available at a commercial level. One alternative contains trivalent chromium. The RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) Directive is commonly referred to regarding elimination of hexavalent chromium.
Chromate conversion coatings are commonly applied to everyday items such as hardware and tools, and can usually be recognized by their distinctively iridescent, greenish-yellow color.