Chloride Spotlight: What is Calcium Chloride?
A calcium chloride molecule consists of 2 chlorine atoms and 1 calcium atom at the center. This molecular structure is extremely “hygroscopic,” meaning it bonds very easily to water. As it bonds to water molecules, it causes an exothermic reaction and releases heat into its surroundings. These chemical characteristics make it very useful for many industries.
Calcium Chloride Uses
Calcium chloride is an extremely useful member of the chloride salt family. It’s ability to release heat, bind to water molecules, and to lower melting points (see deicing below), makes it a very versatile substance.
Calcium chloride is an essential electrolyte for humans, plants, and animals. It produces and regulates the tiny electrical impulses that power many biological processes in living things. Calcium chloride is sometimes administered by doctors to treat calcium deficiencies, muscle spasms, and excess levels of potassium in the blood.
To limit the amount of sodium in certain foods, calcium chloride is used in place of sodium chloride (in cheese, brined foods like pickles, etc.). It is also a common preservative for preserved fruits and vegetables to help retain crispness and prevent browning.
Calcium chloride is critical for industrial processes that need supercooled water, water absorption, or exothermic heat release. It is used in mining, construction, and the manufacturing of petroleum, paper, industrial chemicals, and more. The world is continuously finding new ways to use calcium chloride.
Because calcium chloride bonds so easily to water molecules, it can even pull water from the air. As it draws moisture from the air, it dampens dusty particles and reduces the particulates being released into the air. For this reason, calcium chloride is a common dust control agent for unpaved road surfaces, and other industrial processes that can trigger dust problems.
Deicing / Freeze Point Depression
The most common use for calcium chloride is deicing. Chloride salts work by interfering with water’s ability to freeze, which naturally lowers its freezing point. With no interference, water will freeze at 32° F / 0° C. Calcium chloride lowers that point to about -25° F / -32° C under real world conditions. Under lab conditions, it can lower that temperature to around -60° F / -51° C (its eutectic temperature). Calcium chloride lowers water’s freezing point farther than any other chloride salt. It is sometimes applied as a liquid anti-icing brine before a storm hits to prevent ice from bonding to the pavement. It is also used within granular deicers or to pre-wet deicers that are used after snow and ice have accumulated.
• Click here to learn more about the difference between practical or real-world temperatures and eutectic temperatures.
Calcium can attract and hold 12 water molecules at once and prevent them from re-bonding with each other. This is referred to as ion hydration process interferes with the water molecules' ability to re-freeze. As it holds onto these water molecules it creates an exothermic reaction and puts out heat.
Ice Slicer® And Calcium Chloride
Ice Slicer® is a proud complex chloride™ deicer product. Harvested directly from a Jurassic Era sea mineral deposit, Ice Slicer® naturally contains a homogenous blend of all 4 chloride salts (sodium, magnesium, potassium, calcium) and 60+ trace minerals. These complex chlorides work together using a phenomenon called chemical synergism. As each chloride salt gets to work, they amplify each other’s performance at all temperatures and in all weather conditions.
Ice Slicer® contains just enough calcium chloride to kickstart the melting process at ultra low temperatures. When applied in the recommended rates, Ice Slicer® nourishes soil and actually improves plant growth along the roadside! Also, the extra minerals in Ice Slicer® naturally buffer the effects of chlorides on concrete and metal infrastructure as well as the environment.
Worried about heavy handed applications of calcium chloride on our infrastructure and environment? Responsible deicer usage is a goal we should all get behind. Try Ice Slicer’s® nature balanced formula and enjoy high performance and environmental peace of mind.
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