What is calcium carbonate?

Calcium carbonate (CaCO3), one of the most beneficial and versatile materials known to man, has multiple applications in various industries. One small example of calcium carbonate which almost everyone know is chalk that has been used as a writing tool for over 10,000 years. One big example is that calcium carbonate is the main material of the world’s oldest structure, Khufu’s Pyramid, also known as the ‘Great Pyramid’ consists of 2.5 million limestone blocks. Calcium carbonate is also beneficial for human and animal health, and the environment.

Calcium carbonate makes up more than 4% of the earth’s crust and is found around the world. Its most common natural forms are chalk, limestone, and marble, created from the deposition of shells of small fossilized snails, shellfish and fossilized coral over millions of years. Although all three forms are chemically similar, they differ in many other aspects, including purity, whiteness, thickness, and uniformity.

1. Calcium carbonate common uses

1.1 Calcium carbonate in the plastic industry

Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is one of the most common mineral fillers used in the plastics industry. It can be easily grinded or reduced to a specific particle size, compatible with a wide range of polymer resins. As an additive in plastic compounds, CaCO3 helps to reduce surface energy and create surface opacity and gloss, which improves surface finish. In addition, when the grain size is carefully controlled, CaCO3 helps to increase both the impact strength and the flexural modulus (stiffness).

Calcium carbonate used as filler masterbatch in the plastic industry

Calcium carbonate can be used with a multitude of thermoplastics. Polypropylene compounds are often filled with calcium carbonate to increase stiffness, an important requirement for high-temperature operations. In PVC, calcium carbonate is used with plastic compounds such as pipes, wire and cable insulators, rubber gloves, garbage bags, and in hard compounds such as extrusion pipes, conduit and window profiles.

1.2 Calcium carbonate in construction

The primary use of calcium carbonate is in the construction industry, as a building material, limestone for road construction, or a component of cement.

In the oil industry, calcium carbonate is added to the drilling fluid as a bridging agent; it is also a weighted material that increases the density of the drilling fluid to control the pressure of the down hole. Calcium carbonate is added to swimming pools, as a pH adjuster to maintain alkalinity and offset the acidic properties of the disinfectant.

Calcium carbonate in construction

It is also used as a raw material in the refining of sugar from sugar beets. Calcium carbonate in chalk form has always been the main ingredient of chalkboard chalk.

1.3 Health and diet

Calcium supplements containing calcium carbonate are prescribed by doctors as a diarrhea remedy or an antacid.

The combination of calcium carbonate and magnesium helps relieve diarrhea in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Calcium carbonate has stomach antacids and is used as a medicine to treat symptoms such as heartburn and upset stomach caused by acid. It is also used to treat GERD and gastrointestinal ulcers.

Calcium carbonate is used as a dietary supplement because it is rich in calcium and can help treat hyperphosphatemia. Calcium supplements (in the form of calcium carbonate) are effective in treating some conditions associated with calcium deficiency such as bone loss and osteoporosis.

Calcium supplements help control high blood pressure during pregnancy. They are used to manage PMS symptoms and helps maintain the overall pH balance of the body.

1.4 Agriculture and aquaculture

Agricultural lime, chalk or limestone, used as an inexpensive method of neutralizing acidic soil, suitable for growing crops, is also used in the aquaculture industry to adjust the pH of pond soils. before starting farming.

1.5 Household cleaning

Calcium carbonate is the main ingredient in many household cleaning powders such as Comet and is used as a scrubbing agent.

1.6 Environmental Uses

An experiment conducted by Ken Simmons demonstrated that calcium carbonate helps neutralize the effects of harmful acid rain in river water ecosystems. Ground calcium carbonate (GCC) acts as a reactant in flue gas desulfurization applications by removing sulfur dioxide emissions from coal and other fossil fuels. It also helps to neutralize acidic water from mines and in the treatment of drinking water and wastewater.

1.7 Other Uses

Apart from many fields above, calcium carbonate also has a lot of other uses. A mixture of calcium carbonate and deionized water is used to remove tarnish from silver. It is also used as a food preservative. Calcium carbonate can be used as a colorant for organic apples and other foods. It acts as a firming agent for many canned or bottled vegetable products. It is also used in soy milk and almond milk as a source of calcium.

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