- Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is a ubiquitous compound found in various geological formations.
- Predominantly composed of three elements: carbon-oxygen-calcium .
- It is a substance widely dispersed in nature and It can be found in several forms from the white marble of classical architecture to the shells of marine organisms.
- Its polymorphs – calcite-aragonite and vaterite – are distinguished by their different crystal structures despite having the same chemical formula.
- Their formation and prevalence are influenced by environmental factors such as:
- Temperature and carbon dioxide levels which dictate the solubility and precipitation of calcium carbonate.
- Biological activity as many marine organisms use calcium carbonate to build their shells and skeletons.
- Water chemistry including the presence of ions that can form compounds with calcium carbonate.
USES OF Calcium Carbonate
Beyond its use as an agricultural lime for soil amendment, calcium carbonate is vital in animal feed as a calcium supplement. It also contributes to the nutrient cycle through its role in the composting process of organic waste, aiding in decomposition and nutrient release.
Calcium carbonate is instrumental in water treatment facilities. It corrects the pH of acidic water, making it safe for consumption and preventing pipe corrosion. It also facilitates the removal of lead and other heavy metals from water.
In paper manufacturing, calcium carbonate is used both as a filler inside the paper pulp and as a coating on the surface. Its addition improves the brightness and opacity of the paper, which is essential for printing and writing quality.
Similar to limestone, calcium carbonate is a key component in the construction industry, where it is used as a building material and as an aggregate in concrete. Marble, a metamorphosed form of calcium carbonate, is prized for its use in sculptures, architecture, and as a dimension stone.