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What All Can Cool Mr. Calcium Do? These Uses of Calcium Will Tell You

Calcium: Uses of Calcium
In this article, know about some basic facts about the 20th member in the family of the Mendeleev's Periodic table - Calcium. Apart from this, you will also be briefed on the various uses of calcium and the element's properties.
Rajib Singha
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Sir Humphry Davy, a British chemist and an inventor, is credited with the discovery of what we known as Calcium. It was in the year 1808, when he performed an experiment of electrolyzing a mixture of lime and mercuric oxide. Elements such as magnesium, boron and barium were also discovered by the same person. Limestone, gypsum and fluorite are the natural sources of calcium on Earth, and it is the fifth most abundant element by mass present in the Earth's crust. Bearing an atomic number of 20, and an atomic mass of 40.078 amu (atomic mass unit). The element gets its name from 'Calcis'. It's a Latin word which means lime. Calcium is classified under the group of Alkaline Earth Metals in the periodic table. It is a silvery, moderately hard metallic element, having a melting point of 1112.15°K (839.0 °C) and a boiling point, 1757.15 °K (1484.0 °C).
What is Calcium Used for?
  • The blackboard chalks that you see in schools or in colleges, are an example of the application of calcium sulfate. This compound of calcium is also used as plaster of Paris.
  • The element has a strong affinity for oxygen and sulfur. This makes calcium usable in cleaning nonferrous alloys.
  • Desulphurization and decarburization of various ferrous and nonferrous alloys are done using this white metallic element.
  • For making cheese, coagulation of milk is necessary. And this is achieved my using calcium ions.
  • The element also finds its use in the disinfection of swimming pools. The compound which is required for the purpose is calcium hypochlorite. This is also used as a bleaching agent, and in the manufacture of deodorants.
  • Calcium carbonate is used in the making of lime, mortar, limestone, cement, and in the glass industry, etc.
  • Calcium arsenate finds its use in the manufacture of herbicides.
  • Uses of calcium chloride is most commonly seen in ice melting, manufacturing of plastics, treatment of conditions such as depression, etc.
  • Aluminum, beryllium, copper, lead and magnesium alloys require calcium as their alloying agent.
  • Calcium silicate is used in the reinforcement of rubber.
  • Calcium phosphide is used in the manufacture of fireworks, and even bombs used for military purposes.
Use/Role of Calcium in the Human Body
  • In the human body it acts as a nutrient required for the growth and development of the bones. It is also required for the proper function of muscles and the nerves.
  • For optimum working of the different parts of the heart, the body requires an adequate amount of calcium.
  • Calcium is responsible for the rigidity in human bones.
  • Calcium carbonate works as an antacid to relieve heartburn.
  • For people with kidney disease, elevated phosphate levels could seriously worsen the condition. So to bring down these levels, calcium acetate is put to use.
  • Calcium helps treating and preventing rickets (a condition that softens the bones; a childhood disease), and poor blood clotting.
  • Medical experts say that there could be a connection between symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and intake of dietary calcium. According to them, daily intake of calcium from food sources may help in preventing PMS. Most women experienced reduction of symptoms such as mood swings, bloating, and pain to name a few, with regular intake of calcium. These benefits, however, is not evident in case of calcium supplements.
  • High potassium level is a common medical problem with many. For cutting down the level, calcium could be administered intravenously.
  • It is most likely that calcium could be effective for treating and preventing osteoporosis.
  • Other possible benefits of using calcium for the human body include:
    • help manage high blood pressure
    • cutting down risks of colorectal cancer
    • cholesterol reduction
    • help in weight loss
    • prevention of stroke, and reducing tooth loss in the elderly
And to conclude, in plants, the mineral is required for cell wall development, and growth. Enzyme activity, metabolism and for nitrate uptake, plants make use of calcium. Should you look for some more insight into this subject, books should be your best source of information. Cheers!