What Is Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)?
Calcium carbonate is naturally found in rock and mineral formations. (Four percent of the Earth’s crust is comprised of the substance.) Calcium carbonate is slightly water soluble, and is thereby leached into natural water systems, resulting in “hard” water. Limestone and chalk are comprised of calcium carbonate– as are coral reefs. The mineral is typically procured via mining and quarrying. Calcium carbonate exists as limestone, chalk, and dolomite, and typically includes impurities like clay.
Lauded among many industries for its use, calcium carbonate is a keyplayer in the following industries:
1. Calcium Carbonate in the Garden
The foremost ingredient in garden lime (commonly referred to as agricultural lime) that is responsible for sedating harmful soil acidity is calcium carbonate. The compound also improves the quality of the soil for surrounding plant life. Calcium carbonate (as you may have guessed) bestows plants with a (1) healthy source of calcium, (2) pH balancing properties, (3) increases water retention ability within acidic soils, and (4) encourages absorption of crucial nutrients including nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus despite being rooted in acidic soils.
2. Calcium Carbonate’s Role in Construction & Cement Making
Did you know you walk on calcium carbonate every day? Calcium carbonate is a keystone building material in the construction industry, largely leveraged in cement production. The substance is typically utilized in its limestone state for these purposes. In addition to cement constructs, calcium carbonate is relied upon heavily in laying the foundation for road construction. The substance is frequently used to help soil firm up, allowing for the erection of bridges, homes, and towering edifices.
Large clusters of calcium carbonate are typically used to satisfy a need for considerable aggregates; reacting with soil, lime helps clay to cement (almost literally) and create tighter compounds. Additionally, the firming effect of calcium carbonate allows large construction vehicles to more easily traverse construction worksites.
Expanding upon calcium carbonate’s inclusion in cement production, the principal form utilized in cement preparation is limestone. Cement at its essence is comprised of calcium silicates and calcium sulfate.
3. Use Calcium Carbonate to Combat Acid Rain in Water Systems
Studies show calcium carbonate helps allay the damaging effects of acid rain throughout the entire within river water ecosystems. The United States currently treats acidic waterways with a sprinkling of finely powdered calcium carbonate to neutralize noxious acids. Scandinavia and Scotland also leverage calcium carbonate in this manner. Limestone deposits are used in the treatment of unplanted areas surrounding affected lakes and water bodies. Think of the limestone as a barrier, neutralizing the acidity which may have leached into surrounding soil beds.
4. Living Organisms Need Calcium Carbonate for Bone & Teeth Formation
And you’re one of them! Did you know your teeth and bones are made from a healthy dose of calcium carbonate? Likewise, plants and animals use the mineral to construct their skeletons and shells. Animals most notable for this include snails, coral, pearls, turtles, and other shelled creatures. Calcium carbonate is again redeposited into the soil upon the death of plants and animals hosting the substance.
Factoid: Egg shells are mostly comprised of calcium carbonate. 95 percent, to be exact.
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