[Ar] 4s2
2, 8, 8, 2
842°C, 1548°F, 1115 K
1484°C, 2703°F, 1757 K
Humphry Davy
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Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

The process of shell formation begins when marine organisms extract Calcium ions and carbonate ions (CO3²-) from the surrounding water. These ions then combine to form Calcium carbonate, which is deposited in layers to build the shell.


Calcium is a silvery-white, soft metal that tarnishes rapidly in air and reacts with water.


The Versatile Element: Exploring the Diverse Uses of Calcium

Calcium, symbolized as Ca on the periodic table, is one of the most abundant elements on Earth and plays a pivotal role in various aspects of our lives. This essential element is not only vital for our health but also finds applications in numerous industries. In this article, we will delve into the multifaceted uses of calcium, from its biological importance to its wide-ranging applications in our modern world.


The Biological Significance of Calcium

Calcium is perhaps most renowned for its role in biology. It is an essential mineral for living organisms, and its presence is critical for various biological processes. In the human body, calcium is primarily found in bones and teeth, contributing to their strength and structure. It is also a key player in muscle contractions, blood clotting, and the transmission of nerve signals.


Dietary Calcium

To maintain healthy bones and teeth, a regular intake of dietary calcium is necessary. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are well-known sources of calcium, but it can also be found in leafy greens, almonds, and fortified foods. Ensuring an adequate intake of calcium is particularly important for children, as it supports their growing bones, and for adults to prevent bone density loss that can occur with age.


Calcium Supplements

In cases where individuals do not obtain enough calcium through their diets or have medical conditions that affect calcium absorption, calcium supplements may be prescribed. These supplements come in various forms, including calcium carbonate and calcium citrate, and are available over the counter. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking supplements to determine the appropriate dosage and form.


Beyond Biology: Industrial and Agricultural Applications

While the biological significance of calcium cannot be overstated, its versatility extends far beyond the realm of living organisms. Calcium compounds are widely utilized in various industries and agriculture, contributing to our everyday lives in surprising ways.


1. Construction and Building Materials.

One of the most well-known uses of calcium is in the construction industry. Calcium carbonate, a common compound derived from limestone, is a primary component in cement and concrete. It provides strength and durability to structures, making it an essential element in the construction of buildings, bridges, and roads.


2. Paper Production.

Calcium carbonate is also a vital component in the production of paper. It acts as a filler material, enhancing the paper's brightness and smoothness while reducing costs. This use of calcium helps make high-quality printing and writing papers more accessible.


3. Agricultural Lime:

Agricultural lime, often composed of calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide, is used to improve soil quality in farming. By neutralizing acidic soils, calcium-based lime enhances nutrient availability for crops and promotes healthier plant growth. This application is crucial for maximizing agricultural productivity.


4. Water Treatment.

Calcium hydroxide, also known as slaked lime, is utilized in water treatment processes. It helps to adjust the pH of water, making it less acidic and therefore less corrosive. This is particularly important in the treatment of drinking water and wastewater.


5. Metallurgy.

Calcium is employed in the metallurgical industry, primarily for the purification of certain metals. It can be used to remove impurities from alloys and as a reducing agent in the production of other metals.


Calcium's Environmental Role

Calcium is not only essential for human health and industrial processes but also plays a significant role in the environment.


1. Carbonate Weathering.

Calcium carbonate, found in rocks and sediments, is a crucial component in the Earth's carbon cycle. It weathers over time, absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in the process. This natural carbon sequestration helps mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing the levels of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.


2. Calcium in Aquatic Ecosystems.

In aquatic ecosystems, calcium is important for the growth and survival of various organisms. It contributes to water hardness and affects the availability of essential nutrients for aquatic plants and animals. Maintaining appropriate calcium levels in bodies of water is vital for the health of aquatic ecosystems.



Calcium, symbolized as Ca, is an element of remarkable significance, spanning the realms of biology, industry, agriculture, and the environment. Its role in human health, particularly in maintaining strong bones and teeth, cannot be understated. Additionally, the diverse industrial and environmental applications of calcium contribute to its status as one of the most versatile elements on the periodic table.

As we continue to explore and understand the properties of calcium and its compounds, we harness its potential to improve our quality of life, from constructing sturdy buildings to promoting healthy agricultural practices and even mitigating the effects of climate change. Calcium's ubiquity in our world showcases the profound ways in which the elements around us impact our daily lives and shape our understanding of the natural world.


The story of Calcium, symbolized by the letter Ca on the periodic table, is a journey that spans centuries and covers a wide array of scientific, industrial, and biological milestones. This versatile element, known for its crucial role in the human body and its various applications, has a history as rich and complex as its chemistry. In this article, we will embark on a historical odyssey to explore the intriguing past of Calcium, from its discovery to its multifaceted uses in our modern world.


Discovery of Calcium

The history of Calcium begins with its discovery, a process that unfolded over several centuries. In the early days of chemistry and alchemy, it was challenging to distinguish Calcium from other elements. However, it wasn't until the 19th century that Calcium was isolated and recognized as a distinct element.

  1. Early Understanding: Calcium compounds, such as limestone and gypsum, were well-known to ancient civilizations. The word "lime" itself derives from the Middle English word "lyme" and Old English "līm," meaning a sticky substance. These compounds were used in various applications, including construction and agriculture.

  2. Calcium as a Compound: For centuries, Calcium was commonly encountered in the form of calcium oxide (CaO), known as quicklime, and calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2), known as slaked lime. These compounds played essential roles in construction and mortar-making.

  3. Humphry Davy's Discovery: The isolation of Calcium as a pure element is credited to Sir Humphry Davy, the renowned English chemist, in 1808. Davy achieved this feat through a process of electrolysis, using an electric current to separate Calcium from its compounds.

The Name Game

Davy named the newly discovered element "Calcium," derived from the Latin word "calx," meaning lime. This nomenclature tied the element to its historical use in the production of lime and cement. The name "Calcium" elegantly reflects the element's essential role in construction and building.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 2.31
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): 2.369
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.74
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): 1.00
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
589.83 1145.447 4912.368 6490.57 8153 10495.68 12272.9 14206.5

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states 1
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
40Ca 39.963 96.941 5.92 x 1021 y EC-EC
42Ca 41.959 0.647 - -
43Ca 42.959 0.135 - -
44Ca 43.955 2.086 - -
46Ca 45.954 0.004 > 0.4 x 1016 y β-β-
48Ca 47.953 0.187 4.4 x 1019 y β-β-
> 7.1 x 1019 y β-

Supply Risk

Relative Supply Risk: 5.5
Crustal Abundance (ppm): 41500
Recycle Rate (%): Unknown
Production Conc.(%) : 65.2
Top 3 Producers:
1) China
2) USA
3) India
Top 3 Reserve Holders:
Substitutability: Unknown
Political Stability of Top Producer: 24.1
Political Stability of Top Reserve Holder: Unknown

Pressure and Temperature Data

Specific Heat Capacity: 647
Shear Modulus: Unknown
Young Modulus: Unknown
Bulk Modulus: 17.2
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
- 2.36 x 10-5 0.146 25.5 - - - - - - 17.2


Transcript :

The term Calcium, comes from the Latin calx, meaning lime. This element is placed in Group 2 of the periodic table. This atom is made up of 20 protons and 20 neutrons. Interestingly, the Calcium atom has an electronic configuration of 4 s 2 valence shell.

Almost all living organisms require Calcium to maintain themselves healthy. It is important for skeletal mineralization, body’s contraction, and the health of the nervous system. The mineral also participates in metabolism, invasion, and differentiation, Calcium is a vital mineral for life. It plays an important role in many aspects of human care, including the maintenance of strong bones and teeth, and is also a component of skin, muscles, and blood. It is also the main constituent of oyster shells, limestone and marble. It is a component that may be found in cement as well as white paints. It can be alloyed with aluminum, copper, and beryllium. It is a crystalline alkaline solid. When burned in an oxyhydrogen flame, it produces bright light. It is also called quicklime or burnt lime. The Calcium ions that are formed in water form deposits in pipes and boilers. The half-life of Calcium 41, is 103000 years. It is a cosmogenic isotope, and its production is mostly done in the upper soil column.

In 1808, a British scientist named Humphry Davy discovered that pure Calcium could be separated from other elements during the first century BC, the Romans prepared lime, a Calcium oxide, as a building material. Additionally, it was utilized as a foundation for sculptures. The chemical reaction involving calcination, or burning, of a lime substance, appears to have been the first known chemical reaction that humans discovered. This is a process which removes carbon dioxide from the lime. Since the earliest times, Calcium has been a popular ingredient in foods and building materials. Pure Calcium was separated from melted Calcium chloride by electrolysis. Since then, numerous methods of extraction have been developed.

Calcium is the 5th least prevalent element in the core of the Earth and is recognized by a variety of other names. It is discovered in a great number of salt formations. About 99% of the body's calcium is stored in bones, and the remaining 1% is found in blood, muscle, and other tissues. Additionally, it may be found in greens leafy veggies, milk items, and dishes made with dairy.

Despite its abundance, it is not naturally present in its pure form. It occurs as Calcium Carbonate, which is the major constituent of limestone. Also, we can find it as Calcium Phosphate. Calcium is one of the most common elements in the environment, and is found in a wide range of sources. It is found in several different minerals, including limestone, gypsum, fluorite, and anhydrite. It is also found in seawater, including mineral rocks, marine organisms, coral, and the shells of marine animals.

Calcium is an alkaline earth metal that has many useful properties. It has a metallic structure and is a good conductor. This element has an atomic weight of one and fifty-five grams per cubic centimeter. It is important for multicellular life. Calcium ions are very crucial for the routes of signal propagation, the functioning of enzymes, and the functionality of limbs. They are also vital for the cell wall and membrane. Calcium has a high chemical activity. It may readily form binary combinations with halogens, such as chlorine and fluorine. The geometry of its crystalline form is cubic with a face-centered cubic arrangement.

It is a silvery white element that displays properties of a superconductor. This element is also a good deoxidizer and a reducing agent for several metals.

Throughout history, Calcium has been used in a variety of applications. A wide range of applications exists for Calcium derivatives. It is used in the construction industry dates back to antiquity and as electrical insulator. It is also used as a deoxidizing agent for high-temperature alloys. Calcium is also an ingredient in fortified plant-based beverages. It is used to remove oxygen from alloys. This element produces a bright light when burned in an oxyhydrogen flame.

In addition, it used as bleach in paper manufacturing and also used in the water purification process.

It is also used as a bismuth remover from lead. Moreover, it is used as a separating agent in gaseous mixtures. This element is also used in pesticide mixes, brake pads, and as a filler in petroleum refining. It is also a reagent in the tanning and chemical industries. It is also an ingredient in whitewash and mortar and also used to improve the mechanical properties of steel.

Another important application of Calcium is as a fertilizer component. It is also a phosphate binder in animal feed. In addition, it is a stabilizer for plastics. For instance, it is used as a base material in certain plastic resins.


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  • John Emsley, Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements, Oxford University Press, New York, 2nd Edition, 2011.

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