Uses of Calcium

Calcium is used

  • as a reducing agent in the extraction of other metals, such as uranium, zirconium, and thorium.
  • as a deoxidizer, desulfurizer, or decarbonizer for various ferrous and nonferrous alloys.
  • as an alloying agent used in the production of aluminium, beryllium, copper, lead, and magnesium alloys.
  • in the making of cements and mortars to be used in construction.
  • in the making of cheese, where calcium ions influence the activity of rennin in bringing about the coagulation of milk.

Calcium compounds

  • Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is used in manufacturing cement and mortar, lime, limestone (usually used in the steel industry) and aids in production in the glass industry. It also has chemical and optical uses as mineral specimens in toothpastes, for example.
  • Calcium hydroxide solution (Ca(OH)2) (also known as limewater) is used to detect the presence of carbon dioxide by being bubbled through a solution. It turns cloudy where CO2 is present.
  • Calcium arsenate (Ca3(AsO4)2) is used in insecticides.
  • Calcium carbide (CaC2) is used to make acetylene gas (for use in acetylene torches for welding) and in the manufacturing of plastics.
  • Calcium chloride (CaCl2) is used in ice removal and dust control on dirt roads, in conditioner for concrete, as an additive in canned tomatoes, and to provide body for automobile tires.
  • Calcium cyclamate (Ca(C6H11NHSO3)2) was used as a sweetening agent but is no longer permitted for use because of suspected cancer-causing properties.
  • Calcium gluconate (Ca(C6H11O7)2) is used as a food additive and in vitamin pills.
  • Calcium hypochlorite (Ca(OCl)2) is used as a swimming pool disinfectant, as a bleaching agent, as an ingredient in deodorant, and in algaecide and fungicide.
  • Calcium permanganate (Ca(MnO4)2) is used in liquid rocket propellant, textile production, as a water sterilizing agent and in dental procedures.
  • Calcium phosphate (Ca3(PO4)2) is used as a supplement for animal feed, fertilizer, in commercial production for dough and yeast products, in the manufacture of glass, and in dental products.
  • Calcium phosphide (Ca3P2) is used in fireworks, rodenticide, torpedoes and flares.
  • Calcium stearate (Ca(C18H35O2)2) is used in the manufacture of wax crayons, cements, certain kinds of plastics and cosmetics, as a food additive, in the production of water resistant materials and in the production of paints.
  • Calcium sulfate (CaSO4·2H2O) is used as common blackboard chalk, as well as, in its hemihydrate form better known as Plaster of Paris.
  • Calcium tungstate (CaWO4) is used in luminous paints, fluorescent lights and in X-ray studies.
  • Hydroxylapatite (Ca5(PO4)3(OH), but is usually written Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2) makes up seventy percent of bone. Also carbonated-calcium deficient hydroxylapatite is the main mineral of which dental enamel and dentin are comprised.

Further Reading


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Last Updated: Feb 24, 2011

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