Chromate Conversion Coating (or Chromating)

Chromate Conversion Coating (or Chromating) involves forming a conversion coating (protective coating) on a metal by immersing or spraying the metal with a hexavalent chromium compound solution to produce a hexavalent or trivalent chromium compound coating. This also is known as chromate treatment, and is most often applied to aluminum, zinc, cadmium or magnesium surfaces. Sealant operations using chromium also are included in this unit operation. Chromate solutions include two types: those that deposit substantial chromate films on the substrate metal and are complete treatments themselves, and (2) those that seal or supplement oxide, phosphate, or other types of protective coatings. Wastewater generated during chromate conversion coating includes spent process solutions (i.e., both the chromate conversion coating solutions and post-treatment sealant solutions) and rinses. These solutions typically are discharged to a treatment system when contaminated with the base metal or other impurities. Also, chromium-based solutions, which are typically formulated with hexavalent chromium, lose operating strength when the hexavalent chromium reduces to trivalent chromium during use. Rinsing normally follows each process step, except for sealants that dry on the surface of the part.


40 CFR § C_to_part_438

Scoping language

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