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The Element Calcium

Humphrey Davy

"Sir Humphry Davy"

Definition of the Calcium Element
A silvery, moderately hard metallic element that constitutes approximately 3.5% of the earth's crust and is a basic component of most animals and plants. Calcium is essential to the formation and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. It occurs naturally in limestone, gypsum, and fluorite, and its compounds are used to make plaster, quicklime, cement, and metallurgic and electronic materials.

Calcium is less chemically reactive than alkaline metals and than the other alkaline-earth metals. Refer to Calcium Reaction for its reaction to Water, Oxygen & Acids. The Atomic Number of this element is 20 and the Element Symbol is Ca.

The Properties of the Calcium Element
Symbol of Element : Ca
Atomic Number : 20
Atomic Mass: 40.078 amu
Melting Point: 839.0 C - 1112.15 K
Boiling Point: 1484.0 C - 1757.15 K
Number of Protons/Electrons : 20
Number of Neutrons : 20
Crystal Structure: Cubic
Density @ 293 K: 1.55 g/cm3
Color : silvery

What is Calcium? Origin / Meaning of the name Calcium
The name 'Calcium' originates from the Latin words calx or 'calcis' meaning limestone. Calcium compounds, such as marble, chalk, lime (calcium oxide), limestone (calcium carbonate) and gypsum have been used in construction and for decoration since antiquity.

What is Calcium? Periodic Table Group and Classification of the Calcium Element
Elements can be classified based on their physical states (States of Matter) e.g. gas, solid or liquid. This element is a solid. Calcium is classified as an "Alkaline Earth Metals" which are located in Group 2 elements of the Periodic Table. An Element classified as an Alkaline Earth Metals are found in the Earths crust, but not in the elemental form as they are so reactive. Instead, they are widely distributed in rock structures. For additional facts and information refer to Calcium Properties.

Common properties of Alkaline Earth metals
The elements classed as "Alkaline Earth metals" have the following properties in common:

  • Shiny Solids
  • Two electrons in the outer shell
  • Can conduct heat or electricity
  • Can be formed into sheets

Nearly 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals which are detailed in the List of Metals.

Facts about the History of the Discovery of the Calcium Element
Compounds of calcium such as limestone, chalk, marble and gypsum plaster have been in use since antiquity. The Ancient Romans discovered concrete by combining a mixture of lime (calcium hydroxide) with volcanic ash and a few pieces of rock. Without concrete fabulous Roman buildings such as the Pantheon and the Colosseum could not have been built. In 1808 Sir Humphry Davy isolated the element Calcium by the electrolysis of a mixture of lime and mercuric oxide (HgO).

What is Calcium? Occurrence of the Calcium Element
3.5% of Earth's crust
Fifth most abundant element in the earth's crust
Obtained from chalk, limestone and marble
Only found in living organisms

Abundances of the element in different environments
% in Universe 0.007%
% in Sun 0.007%
% in Meteorites 1.1%
% in Earth's Crust 5%
% in Oceans 0.00042%
% in Humans 1.4%

Associated Uses of Calcium
Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium. Deficiency can affect bone and teeth formation
Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium
Reducing agent
Medicine and Health Care
Alloying agent used in the production of alloys
Coral calcium , calcium carbonate, chloride, citrate, carbide, hydroxide

Calcium oxide (lime, quicklime) (CaO). Lime is prepared by strongly heating calcium carbonate (limestone) in large furnaces called kilns.

Pure calcium hydroxide is a light white powder. It is sparingly soluble in water, forming a solution called limewater, which is often used in medicine as a mild alkali.

Cement. When limestone to which clay and sand have been added in certain proportions is burned until it is partly fused (some natural marl is already of about the right composition), and the clinker so produced is ground to powder, the product is called cement.

Bleaching powder (CaOCl2). When Chlorine acts upon a solution of calcium hydroxide the reaction is similar to that which occurs between chlorine and Potassium hydroxide.

Facts about the History of the Discovery of Calcium Element
Calcium was discovered by Sir Humphry Davy in 1808 by electrolysis of quicklime.

Sir Humphry Davy
Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) isolated Sodium, Lithium, potassium, barium, strontium, and calcium by means of electrolysis; demonstrated the elementary nature of chlorine; invented the safety lamp; discovered the stupefying effects of nitrous oxide.

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Calcium Reaction
Alkaline Earth Metals
Calcium Properties
List of Metals
Periodic Table

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