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Chrome yellow is lead(II) chromate (PbCrO4). It occurs naturally as the mineral crocoite but the mineral ore was never used as a pigment for paint. After the French chemist Louis Vauquelin discovered the new element chromium in 1797 lead chromate was synthesized in the laboratory and used as a pigment beginning in the second decade of the nineteenth century.
The pigment tends to react with hydrogen sulfide and darken on exposure to air over time, forming lead sulfide, and it contains the toxic heavy metal lead plus the toxic, carcinogenic chromate. For these reasons, it was replaced by another pigment, cadmium yellow (mixed with enough cadmium orange to produce a color equivalent to chrome yellow). Darkening may also occur from reduction by sulfur dioxide. Good quality pigments have been coated to inhibit contact with gases that can change their color.
The Piper J-3 Cub aircraft had chrome yellow as its standard overall color, usually called "Cub Yellow" or "Lock Haven Yellow" in aviation circles, from the Piper factory that existed in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, where it was made in the 1930s and during World War II.
- Kühn, H. and Curran, M., Chrome Yellow and Other Chromate Pigments, in Artists’ Pigments. A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics, Vol. 1, L. Feller, Ed., Cambridge University Press, London 1986, p. 187 – 204, pp 188-190
- Pichon, A. Pigment degradation: Chrome yellow’s darker side. Nature Chemistry, 5(11), 2013, 897–897. doi:10.1038/nchem.1789
- Gettens, Rutherford John; Stout, George Leslie (1966). Painting Materials: A Short Encyclopaedia. Courier Dover Publications. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-486-21597-6.
- Entry on Bleichromat-Pigmente. at: Römpp Online. Georg Thieme Verlag, retrieved 22. Juli 2018.
- Worobec, Mary Devine; Hogue, Cheryl (1992). Toxic Substances Controls Guide: Federal Regulation of Chemicals in the Environment. BNA Books. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-87179-752-0.
- Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Color New York:1930 McGraw-Hill Page 192; Color Sample of Chrome Yellow: Page 43 Plate 10 Color Sample L4
- Kühn, H. and Curran, M., Chrome Yellow and Other Chromate Pigments, in Artists’ Pigments. A Handbook of Their History and Characteristics, Vol. 1, L. Feller, Ed., Cambridge University Press, London 1986
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