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Calcium Nitrate

Calcium nitrate is an inorganic compound. It is also known as Norwegian Saltpeter. It has the formula Ca(NO3)2 and is usually found as a tetrahydrate compound Ca(NO3)2.4H2O.

The inorganic compound was synthesized by the Birkeland Eyde process at Notodden, Norway, in 1905.

Structure and Formula

The chemical formula of calcium nitrate is Ca(NO3)2 and the structure is represented below.

Structure of Calcium Nitrate
Structure of Calcium Nitrate (Source)

Physical Properties   

OdorNo odor
AppearanceWhite deliquescent granules
Melting point561℃
Boiling pointdecomposes
SolubilitySoluble in water, ethanol, methanol, acetone

Chemical Properties

Upon heating, the compound undergoes decomposition and releases nitrogen dioxide and oxygen.

Ca(NO3)2 →CaO + 2NO2 + 1/2O2

On adding calcium nitrate to sodium carbonate, a precipitate of calcium carbonate is formed, leaving sodium nitrate in the solution.

Ca(NO3)2 + Na2CO3 → 2NaNO3 + CaCO3

Preparation

The compound Ca(NO3)2 is prepared by the following reactions

It is obtained by the reaction of calcium carbonate (generally as limestone) with nitric acid:
CaCO3 + 2HNO3 🡢 Ca(NO3)2 + CO2 + H2O

It can be obtained in the extraction process of calcium phosphate as a byproduct:
Ca3(PO4)2 + 6HNO3 + 12H2O 🡢 2H3PO4 + 3Ca(NO3)2 + 12H2O

It is obtained by the reaction of ammonium nitrate solution and calcium hydroxide:
2NH4NO3 + Ca(OH)2 🡢 Ca(NO3)2 + 2NH4OH

Applications

  • The inorganic compound is used in agriculture, in order to control certain plant diseases.
  • Finds applications in waste-water treatment, for odor emission prevention.
  • It is used in accelerating concrete admixtures.
  • The tetrahydrate form is highly endothermic, which allows it to be used for regenerable cold packs.
  • It is a very common coagulant in latex production.
  • It can also be used as a part of molten salt mixtures, for the purpose of heat transfer and storage.

Hazards

  • The inorganic compound is a powerful oxidizing agent and presents a dangerous fire hazard.
  • It has an irritating effect on skin and mucous membranes.

FAQs

What is calcium nitrate used for?

It is primarily used as a nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture.

Is calcium nitrate dangerous?

It can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea and being an oxidizing agent, it has a danger of fire hazard.

How is calcium nitrate obtained?

It is produced by applying nitric acid to limestone, and then adding ammonia.

More on Inorganic Compounds

Mohr’s Salt (Fe(SO4)(NH4)2(SO4)(H2O)6)Sodium Potassium Tartrate (C4H4O6KNa.4H2O)
Magnesium PhosphateSulfur Trioxide (SO3)
Sodium Sulfate (Na2SO4)Ammonium Bicarbonate ((NH4)HCO3)
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