Calcium chloride

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Available Options

Uses

De-icing and freezing point depression

 
Bulk CaCl2 for de-icing in Japan.
  • By depressing the freezing point of water, calcium chloride is used to prevent ice formation and is used to de-ice. This application consumes the greatest amount of calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is relatively harmless to plants and soil. As a de-icing agent, it is much more effective at lower temperatures than sodium chloride. When distributed for this use, it usually takes the form of small, white spheres a few millimeters in diameter, called prills. Solutions of calcium chloride can prevent freezing at temperature as low as −52 °C (−62 °F), making it ideal for filling agricultural implement tires as a liquid ballast, aiding traction in cold climates.
  • It is also used in domestic and industrial chemical air dehumidifiers.

Road surfacing

 
Calcium chloride was sprayed on this road to prevent weathering, giving it a wet appearance even in dry weather.
  • The second largest application of calcium chloride exploits hygroscopic properties and the tackiness of its hydrates. A concentrated solution keeps a liquid layer on the surface of dirt roads, which suppresses formation of dust. It keeps the finer dust particles on the road, providing a cushioning layer. If these are allowed to blow away, the large aggregate begins to shift around and the road breaks down. Using calcium chloride reduces the need for grading by as much as 50% and the need for fill-in materials as much as 80%.

Water treatment

  • Calcium chloride is used to increase the water hardness in swimming pools. This process reduces the erosion of the concrete in the pool. By Le Chatelier's principle and the common ion effect, increasing the concentration of calcium in the water will reduce the dissolution of calcium compounds essential to the structure of concrete.

Food

  • The average intake of calcium chloride as food additives has been estimated to be 160–345 mg/day.[13] Calcium chloride is permitted as a food additive in the European Union for use as a sequestrant and firming agent with the E number E509. It is considered as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Its use in organic crop production is generally prohibited under the US National Organic Program.
  • In marine aquariums, calcium chloride is one way to introduce bioavailable calcium for calcium carbonate-shelled animals such as mollusks and some cnidariansCalcium hydroxide (kalkwasser mix) or a calcium reactor can also be used.
  • As a firming agent, calcium chloride is used in canned vegetables, in firming soybean curds into tofu and in producing a caviarsubstitute from vegetable or fruit juices. It is commonly used as an electrolyte in sports drinks and other beverages, including bottled water. The extremely salty taste of calcium chloride is used to flavor pickles without increasing the food's sodium content. Calcium chloride's freezing-point depression properties are used to slow the freezing of the caramel in caramel-filled chocolate bars. Also, it is frequently added to sliced apples to maintain texture.
  • In brewing beer, calcium chloride is sometimes used to correct mineral deficiencies in the brewing water. It affects flavor and chemical reactions during the brewing process, and can also affect yeast function during fermentation.
  • In cheesemaking, calcium chloride is sometimes added to processed (pasteurized/homogenized) milk to restore the natural balance between calcium and protein in casein. It is added before the coagulant.
  • Calcium chloride is used to prevent cork spot and bitter pit on apples by spraying on the tree during the late growing season.

Laboratory and related drying operations

  • Drying tubes are frequently packed with calcium chloride. Kelp is dried with calcium chloride for use in producing sodium carbonate. Anhydrous calcium chloride has been approved by the FDA as a packaging aid to ensure dryness (CPG 7117.02).

Medicine

  • It is injected to treat internal hydrofluoric acid burns. It can be used to treat magnesium intoxication. Calcium chloride injection may improve the appearance of an electrocardiogram. It can help to protect the myocardium from dangerously high levels of serum potassium in hyperkalemia. Calcium chloride can be used to quickly treat calcium channel blocker toxicity, from the side effects of drugs such as diltiazem.

Cardiac arrest

Science

  • Aqueous calcium chloride is used in genetic transformation of cells by increasing the cell membrane permeability, inducing competencefor DNA uptake (allowing DNA fragments to enter the cell more readily).

Miscellaneous applications

  • Calcium chloride is used in concrete mixes to accelerate the initial setting, but chloride ions lead to corrosion of steel rebar, so it should not be used in reinforced concrete. The anhydrous form of calcium chloride may also be used for this purpose and can provide a measure of the moisture in concrete.
  • Calcium chloride is included as an additive in plastics and in fire extinguishers, in wastewater treatment as a drainage aid, in blast furnaces as an additive to control scaffolding (clumping and adhesion of materials that prevent the furnace charge from descending), and in fabric softener as a thinner.
  • The exothermic dissolution of calcium chloride is used in self-heating cans and heating pads.
  • In the oil industry, calcium chloride is used to increase the density of solids-free brines. It is also used to provide inhibition of swelling clays in the water phase of invert emulsion drilling fluids.
  • CaCl2 acts as flux material (decreasing melting point) in the Davy process for the industrial production of sodium metal, through the electrolysis of molten NaCl.
  • Similarly, CaCl2 is used as a flux and electrolyte in the FFC Cambridge process for titanium production, where it ensures the proper exchange of calcium and oxygen ions between the electrodes.
  • Calcium chloride is also used in the production of activated charcoal.
  • Calcium chloride is also an ingredient used in ceramic slipware. It suspends clay particles so that they float within the solution making it easier to use in a variety of slipcasting techniques.

Animal sterilization

  • Calcium chloride dihydrate (20% by weight) dissolved in ethanol (95% ABV) has been used as a sterilant for male animals. The solution is injected into the testes of the animal. Within 1 month, necrosis of testicular tissue results in sterilization.