Although there are many different uses for calcium carbonate, it is probably best known as a dietary supplement, an antacid, and blackboard chalk. There are many other uses for calcium carbonate ranging from the manufacturing process for fiberglass to pigmenting paint. Some other interesting everyday items that most people probably do not know are made with calcium carbonate are baby diapers, poker chips, cake mixes, and food coloring.
Calcium carbonate is a commonly found in rocks such as marble, limestone, travertine, and chalk. It is found in quarries and mines. In its purest form, calcium carbonate is derived from natural stone like marble, but it can also be processed to change unrefined calcium oxide into precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC). When PCC is ground into a fine powder, it becomes ground calcium carbonate (GCC).
Two of the most commonly known uses of calcium carbonate are medicinal. It is taken as a calcium supplement by people with calcium deficiencies and is used as an antacid to reduce acid in the stomach and relieve indigestion and heartburn. Some irritable bowel syndrome sufferers take a calcium carbonate supplement to reduce or relieve diarrhea.
Many household items contain calcium carbonate. Toothpaste, baking soda, bathroom cleaner, and shoe polish are a few examples. Calcium carbonate is also a key component in the backing of carpets, in addition to being responsible for the hard water spots left behind in the shower or bath tub.
Calcium carbonate is important In several industries, including the construction industry, where it is used as a building material; the iron industry, where it is used to purify iron; and the oil industry, where it is an ingredient in drilling fluids. In the same way calcium carbonate neutralizes stomach acid, it can be used to neutralize acidic soil and water.
Another common use of calcium carbonate is as a filling agent. Both GCC and PCC are used as filler in the making of paper. Writing paper, printer paper, and copy paper all are manufactured with as much as 20% calcium carbonate filler. Calcium carbonate is also used as filler in other items, including plastics, caulk, and sealants. It is even used in the pharmaceutical industry as a filler for various tablets.