Calcium carbonate

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825 °C (calcite)
1339 °C (aragonite)

decomposes

Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rock in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime, and is usually the principal cause of hard water. It is commonly used medicinally as a calcium supplement or as an antacid, but excessive consumption can be hazardous.

Contents

Chemical properties

Calcium carbonate shares the typical properties of other carbonates. Notably:

  • it reacts with strong acids, releasing carbon dioxide:
  • it releases carbon dioxide on heating (to above 840 °C in the case of CaCO3), to form calcium oxide, commonly called quicklime, with reaction enthalpy 178 kJ / mole:

Calcium carbonate will react with water that is saturated with carbon dioxide to form the soluble calcium bicarbonate.

This reaction is important in the erosion of carbonate rocks, forming caverns, and leads to hard water in many regions.

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