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The main use of calcium carbonate is in the construction industry, either as a building material or limestone aggregate for road building or as an ingredient of cement or as the starting material for the preparation of builder's lime by burning in a kiln. However, because of weathering mainly caused by
, calcium carbonate (in limestone form) is no longer used for building purposes on its own, but only as a raw/primary substance for building materials.
Calcium carbonate is also used in the purification of
. The carbonate is calcined
to give calcium oxide, which forms a slag with various impurities present, and separates from the purified iron.
, calcium carbonate is added to
as a formation-bridging and filtercake-sealing agent; it is also a weighting material which increases the density of drilling fluids to control the downhole pressure. Calcium carbonate is added to swimming pools, as a
corrector for maintaining
and offsetting the acidic properties of the disinfectant agent.
It is also used as a raw material in the refining of sugar from
; It is calcined in a kiln with anthracite to produce calcium oxide and carbon dioxide. This burnt lime is then slaked in sweet water to produce a calcium hydroxide suspension for the precipitation of impurities in raw juice during
Calcium carbonate has traditionally been a major component of blackboard chalk. However, modern manufactured chalk is mostly
O. Calcium carbonate is a main source for growing
. Precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC), pre-dispersed in slurry form, is a common filler material for latex gloves with the aim of achieving maximum saving in material and production costs.
Fine ground calcium carbonate (GCC) is an essential ingredient in the microporous film used in
and some building films as the pores are nucleated around the calcium carbonate particles during the manufacture of the film by biaxial stretching. GCC or PCC is used as a filler in paper because they are cheaper than wood fiber. In terms of market volume, GCC are the most important types of fillers currently used. Printing and writing paper can contain 10–20% calcium carbonate. In North America, calcium carbonate has begun to replace
in the production of glossy paper. Europe has been practicing this as alkaline
or acid-free papermaking for some decades. PCC used for paper filling and paper coatings is precipitated and prepared in a variety of shapes and sizes having characteristic narrow particle size distributions and equivalent spherical diameters of 0.4 to 3 micrometres.
Calcium carbonate is widely used as an extender in paints, in particular matte emulsion paint where typically 30% by weight of the paint is either chalk or marble. It is also a popular filler in plastics. Some typical examples include around 15 to 20% loading of chalk in
unplasticized polyvinyl chloride
(uPVC) drain pipe, 5 to 15% loading of stearate coated chalk or marble in uPVC window profile.
cables can use calcium carbonate at loadings of up to 70 phr (parts per hundred parts of resin) to improve mechanical properties (tensile strength and elongation) and electrical properties (volume resistivity).
compounds are often filled with calcium carbonate to increase rigidity, a requirement that becomes important at high use temperatures. Here the percentage is often 20–40%. It also routinely used as a filler in
(sheet and bulk molding compounds) and has also been mixed with
, and other ingredients, to form some types of compression molded "clay" poker chips. Precipitated calcium carbonate, made by dropping
into water, is used by itself or with additives as a white paint, known as
Calcium carbonate is added to a wide range of trade and
do it yourself
adhesives, sealants, and decorating fillers. Ceramic tile adhesives typically contain 70 to 80% limestone. Decorating crack fillers contain similar levels of marble or dolomite. It is also mixed with putty in setting
windows, and as a resist to prevent glass from sticking to kiln shelves when firing glazes and paints at high temperature.
/glazing applications, calcium carbonate is known as
, and is a common ingredient for many glazes in its white powdered form. When a glaze containing this material is fired in a kiln, the whiting acts as a
material in the glaze. Ground calcium carbonate is an
(both as scouring powder and as an ingredient of household scouring creams), in particular in its calcite form, which has the relatively low hardness level of 3 on the
Mohs scale of mineral hardness
, and will therefore not scratch
and most other
, and have a moderate effect on softer metals like
. A paste made from calcium carbonate and
can be used to clean
Health and dietary applications
500-milligram calcium supplements made from calcium carbonate
Calcium carbonate is widely used medicinally as an inexpensive dietary calcium supplement for
). It may be used as a
for the treatment of
(primarily in patients with
chronic renal failure
). It is also used in the pharmaceutical industry as an inert
Calcium carbonate is used in the production of calcium oxide as well as toothpaste and has seen a resurgence as a food preservative and color retainer, when used in or with products such as organic apples.
Excess calcium from supplements, fortified food and high-calcium diets, can cause
, which has serious toxicity and can be fatal. In 1915, Bertram Sippy introduced the "Sippy regimen" of hourly ingestion of milk and cream, and the gradual addition of eggs and cooked cereal, for 10 days, combined with alkaline powders, which provided symptomatic relief for peptic ulcer disease. Over the next several decades, the Sippy regimen resulted in
, mostly in men with peptic ulcer disease. These adverse effects were reversed when the regimen stopped, but it was fatal in some patients with protracted vomiting. Milk-alkali syndrome declined in men after effective treatments for
disease arose. During the past 15 years, it has been reported in women taking calcium supplements above the recommended range of 1.2 to 1.5 g daily, for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and is exacerbated by
. Calcium has been added to over-the-counter products, which contributes to inadvertent excessive intake. Excessive calcium intake can lead to
, complications of which include vomiting, abdominal pain and altered mental status.
it is designated E170, and it has an INS number of 170. Used as an acidity regulator, anticaking agent, stabiliser or colour it is approved for usage in the EU,USA and
. It is used in some
products as a source of dietary calcium; one study suggests that calcium carbonate might be as
as the calcium in cow's milk. Calcium carbonate is also used as a
in many canned or bottled vegetable products.
, powdered chalk or limestone, is used as a cheap method for neutralising acidic soil, making it suitable for planting.
In 1989, a researcher, Ken Simmons, introduced CaCO
into the Whetstone Brook in
. His hope was that the calcium carbonate would counter the acid in the stream from acid rain and save the trout that had ceased to spawn. Although his experiment was a success, it did increase the amount of aluminium ions in the area of the brook that was not treated with the limestone. This shows that CaCO
can be added to neutralize the effects of acid rain in
ecosystems. Currently calcium carbonate is used to neutralize acidic conditions in both soil and water. Since the 1970s, such
has been practiced on a large scale in Sweden to mitigate acidification and several thousand lakes and streams are limed repeatedly.
Calcium carbonate is also used in
flue gas desulfurisation
applications eliminating harmful SO
emissions from coal and other fossil fuels burnt in large fossil fuel power stations.
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