Hexavalent chromium may sound sinister and make a great name for a shiny villain that fights super heroes, but the real element has been used for nearly 100 years to make things look cool. That custom Harley that just rumbled past on the highway may have a bunch of “show chrome” plated parts, for example.

Perhaps more importantly, non-decorative “hard chrome” plating can be found on thousands of other things. The train that you and the guy on the Harley are waiting to pass - full of parts that are plated with hard chrome.

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