Calcium chloride is used everyday to help people and companies stay safe and do business. Did you know calcium chloride is used to help set concrete and melt ice on the roads during the icy winter months? Or that it’s used in wastewater treatment plants to clean the water? Indeed, there are many uses for the compound.
What is calcium chloride? Calcium chloride is an ionic compound made of calcium and chlorine. It’s a colourless crystalline solid, and just like salt, behaves as a typical ionic halide, which means it is highly soluble in water. Being hygroscopic in nature, the compound attracts moisture from the air and its surroundings, making it useful for many applications such as preserving food, treating icy roads or cleaning water in a swimming pool.
But there are various other uses for the compound, such as:
1.At the doctor’s office and in hospitals
Another way calcium chloride is used is to treat health problems such as high blood pressure during a blood transfusion. And it is used to help with magnesium sulfate overdoses. The compound helps reduce internal acid burns and can act as a channel blocker to reduce the harmful effects of some medications.
2. For your tastebuds
Calcium chloride is used in foods to add a salty taste or preserve a product. For example, it’s added to canned vegetables, and helps soybean curbs become tofu — it gives tofu its shape! Calcium chloride is also added to sports drinks, pickles, and famous chocolate bars, like Caramilk. Of course, the compound has been approved by the World Health Organization, so it’s safe to use in food.
3. In the lab
The US Federal Drug Administration has approved calcium chloride safe to use in labs, especially to dry products for packaging so they can be shipped to other labs. Some other ways calcium chloride is used in the laboratories is to dry seaweed or kelp to produce sodium carbonate.
4. For the pool
Because calcium chloride is highly soluble in water, it’s also used to treat swimming pools and increase the hardness of the water at the pool. Adding the compound to the pool’s water helps reduce concrete erosion and sustain the foundation of the pool. How it works is: when calcium chloride is added to the water, it increases the calcium in the water, which in turn protects the concrete.
5. In the tank for sea creatures
Marine aquariums also use the compound to help hard-bodied creatures who have calcium in their shells get the calcium they need to stay healthy.
6. To keep us safe
Calcium chloride has been used for many years on the roads and sidewalks. The compound acts like salt to de-ice icy highways and paths so we can drive and walk safely. It’s also added to fire extinguishers.
7. At work
The construction and oil and gas industry has been using calcium chloride for a long time. The construction industry uses it for concrete. When used in concrete, the compound accelerates the setting of the concrete and helps measure the moisture. It can also be added to scaffolding to control the scaffolding.
For the oil and gas industry, the compound is used to increase the density in solids-free bines and block the water in clay. Adding calcium chloride prevents the clay from swelling during the invert phase of emulsion drilling of fluids.
From food to safety to work and in science, calcium chloride is a great compound with many uses. And there’s even more. Other types of calcium chloride are found in heating pads and for activating charcoal as well as added to fabric softener to thin the product. Who knew all the ways it could be used, and how important the compound is for our everyday living.