Calcium carbonate: properties and uses

Calcium carbonate: properties and uses

Il calcium carbonate (CaCo3) is a natural inorganic compound that you can find in solid form, in powder form or even enclosed in food supplements and more. This compound is now used in agriculture, in the construction sector, in the production of paper and in many other contexts.

One of its functions is to neutralize gastric acids, proving to be an excellent antacid, but it is certainly not the only one. In fact, calcium carbonate is also used as food additiveas a component in construction and even as an agricultural fertilizer.

Calcium carbonate is therefore omnipresent in our life, more than we can imagine.

But exactly that what is calcium carbonate? And what is it for? Let’s see what are the uses of this mineral and how it is an integral part of our life.

What is calcium carbonate?

Calcium carbonate, as anticipated, is a mineral. It comes in the form of a white solid, or even in the form of a white powder or in colorless and odorless crystals.

It is an almost substance insoluble in water. This means that when it comes into contact with water, at a temperature of about 20 degrees, only a very small part of it melts. Its solubility increases when it has a higher temperature.

When heated to high temperatures it decomposes and forms calcium oxide (quicklime) e carbon dioxide. The formula of calcium carbonate è CaCo3 (in the European coding of food additives you can find it with the acronym E170).

Calcium carbonate: where is it found?

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In nature, calcium carbonate is present in limestone rocks from all over the world, carbonate rocks, therefore in rocks such as marble and travertine, calcite, vaterite, gypsum and numerous other minerals. This is believed to account for around 4% of the earth’s crust.

From a chemical point of view, the characteristics of this mineral are surprising. It is in fact characterized by a high whitenessbrightness and opacityis odorless and has a good pH stabilization effect, has anticorrosive properties, is soluble if it comes into contact with hydrochloric acid.

Calcium carbonate: uses

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What is calcium carbonate used for? This mineral compound has been part of human life since the earliest times. Over the centuries, we have learned the techniques to exploit its countless beneficial effects, today calcium carbonate has become a fundamental element in many areas of our life.

It is one of the most useful and versatile materials known in the world. This compound is in fact the most used mineral in the paper, plastic, paint, construction, agricultural and even food industries. Let’s take a look at the various uses of “CaCo3”.

Paper production

Calcium carbonate is now widely used in the process of paper production and cardboard, as it is able to give an excellent degree of whiteness and brilliance, to allow a better “printability” of the finished product.

It is an inexpensive compound with a very high yield, which allows to keep the price low.

Paint production

The compound is also used in the making of paintsas it improves the whiteness and opacity of wall coverings, while in the plastic industry calcium carbonate is used as a reinforcing agent that maximizes the mechanical properties of some plastic materials.

Building and construction

It is also used for the production of asphalt, concrete and ceramic tiles, such as for creating tiles and decorative elements. CaCo3 is also widely used in the construction field, where it is considered an excellent material for the most diverse uses, in natural or worked form.

Use for the environment

Calcium carbonate is also used in many areas concerning environmental protection. For example, it is used in the process of drinking water treatment, in that of liming, a procedure that eliminates the acidity of the soil or water of lakes and soils, and as an anti-pollution filter.

Calcium carbonate in agriculture

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As anticipated, this mineral is also widely used in agriculture. Calcium is in fact an essential nutrient for plants, which is why the mineral is used to fertilize soils. It is also used to correct the pH of excessively acidic soils.

Calcium carbonate is also used as an additive for the production of pesticides e biological pesticidesand for the production of animal feed.

Supplements and food products

One use that will probably surprise you with calcium carbonate is that of producing food supplements. Since it is an excellent source of calcium, this mineral can in fact be used for the production of supplements to prevent and treat diseases such as osteoporosis, osteomalacia and hypocalcemia, or calcium deficiency.

The product is also used as an anti-aggregating agent, able to give compactness to the tablets. This makes it a basic material for the production of some drugs. Furthermore, it is used in the production of antacids useful for reducing heartburn and other gastric ailments.

In the food sector you can also find it as a white pigment, with the initials E170, used for the rice refiningbut you will also find it on supermarket shelves, used in the production of baking powder, toothpastesas it polishes the teeth and helps to reduce plaque, paste and also in wine, to correct its acidity.

How is it taken?

But how to take and where to buy calcium carbonate? You can find this product in the pharmacy, in the form of chewable tablets and capsules, or even in the form of a liquid to be taken by mouth.

Calcium carbonate should be used at least 2 hours after taking any medications, so as not to compromise its effectiveness.


Is calcium carbonate bad for you? And what are the contraindications to know? When taken at the recommended doses, this supplement is generally safe, as well as beneficial, for health.

In fact, calcium carbonate is neither toxic nor dangerous. However, in some cases, side effects may occur such as:

  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea and vomit
  • Constipation
  • Feeling of dry mouth
  • Increased urination
  • Loss of appetite.

Excessive intake of this supplement could also lead to consequences such as kidney stones o hypercalcemia. The product is not recommended for those suffering from kidney diseases.

Source: GreenStyle by

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