Chromates and dichromates are salts of chromic acid and dichromic acid, respectively. Chromate salts contain the chromate ion, CrO42−, and have an intense yellow color. Dichromate salts contain the dichromate ion, Cr2O72−, and have an intense orange color.
This equilibrium can be pushed towards dichromate by lowering the pH (making the solution more acidic) or in the other direction towards chromate by raising the pH to basic. This is a classic example of Le Chatelier's principle at work.
They are carcinogenic. All hexavalent chromium compounds are considered toxic and carcinogenic.
When used as oxidizing agents or titrants in a redox chemical reaction, they will turn into trivalent chromium, Cr3+, which has a distinctively different blue-green color.
The sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), and ammonium (NH4+) salts are water soluble granular solids and are the most commonly used chromate or dichromate chemical reagents. Most chromate and dichromate salts of heavy metals, lanthanides or alkaline earth metals are only very slightly soluble in water and are thus of much less usefulness.