Calcium chloride is a chemical compound made up of calcium and chlorine. Traditionally it is made by dissolving marble or limestone in hydrochloric acid, but it can be produced directly from limestone or as a by-product of the ammonia-soda process. It can cause skin irritation and must be handled carefully.
Uses of Calcium Chloride
- Calcium chloride has the ability of lowering the freezing point of water. It is for this reason that it is often used to de-ice roads in regions where icy roads are a problem. It melts ice faster than other commercially available chemical compound. It is also applied to roads and in working mines to minimize the levels of dust.
- Calcium chloride is used as a preservative in food because it is able to prevent food from spoiling. It is a popular preservative because it also helps to raise the calcium levels of the food. In some countries the manufacturers are allowed to label this food as “calcium enriched” or “added calcium.”
- It is also added to many canned foods because it acts as a firming agent and prevents the food from becoming soft.
- It is also used as an additive in the pasteurization of milk and in cheese making.
- It is also added to many sports drinks because it is an electrolyte as well as being a good source of calcium.
- Calcium chloride is commonly used as a drying agent because it is capable of absorbing moisture. This property is used to remove moisture from the air, to dry wet products like kelp and in many other industries.
- It is also commonly used in swimming pool water with a low calcium content. This can reduce damage to the materials used around the pool. It is also used in aquariums to increase calcium in the water.
- It is also added to concrete to reduce the required setting time without damaging the concrete.
- Calcium chloride also has many uses in the medical industry. It is used for hypocalcaemia (low calcium levels in the blood), magnesium intoxication and hyperkalemia (high potassium levels in the blood).
- It is also an additive in many plastics, blast furnaces, fire extinguishers and fabric softener.