Calcium Nitrate

Calcium Nitrate – Preparation, Reactions, Properties and Uses

Calcium Nitrate which is also called Norgessalpeter or Norwegian Saltpeter is an inorganic compound with the formula Ca(NO3)2. It is an odorless and inorganic nitrate salt that is majorly used in the production of fertilizers and for the regulation of disease in plants.

This deliquescent granular solid is nitrocalcite in mineral form and occurs as a tetrahydrate compound with the formula Ca(NO3)2. 4H2O and is also hygroscopic meaning it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere.It was first produced in 1905 in a Norwegian city called Notodden using the Birkeland-Eyde process.

Preparation Of Calcium Nitrate

Calcium nitrate can also be obtained as a product of the reaction of phosphate and nitric acid. This process was first carried out in a Norwegian city in 1927.

This process involves the reaction of nitric acid which has been diluted with phosphate to produce calcium nitrate, water and phosphoric acid. The end resultant of this reaction are then cooled for the crystallization of calcium nitrate and its separation from phosphoric acid to form nitrogen fertilizer.

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Ca5(PO4)3OH + 10 HN3 = 5 Ca(NO3)2 + 3 H3PO4 + H2O

2 H3PO4 + 3 Ca(NO3)2 + 12 H2O → 2 H3PO4 + 3 Ca(NO3)2·4H2O

Calcium nitrate can be prepared by the treatment of nitric acid and limestone and its further neutralization with ammonia.

CaCO3 + 2 HNO3 = Ca(NO3)2 + CO2 + H2O

It can be formed by reacting calcium hydroxide and ammonium nitrate.

2 NH4NO3 + Ca(OH)2 = Ca(NO3)2 + 2 NH4OH

Chemical Properties Of Calcium Nitrate

Carbon Nitrate breaks down when heated to release nitrogen dioxide and oxygen.

Ca(NO3)2 + Heat = CaO + 2 NO2 + O2

Carbon Nitrate reacts with sodium carbonate to form calcium carbonate and sodium nitrate solution.

Ca(NO3)2 + Na2CO3 = 2 NaNO3 + CaCO3

Carbon nitrate reacts with ammonia, carbon dioxide, and water to form ammonium nitrate and calcium carbonate.

Ca(NO3)2 + 2 NH3 + CO2 + H2O = 2 NH4NO3 + CaCO3

Physical Properties Of Calcium Nitrate

Calcium Nitrate is a white odorless nitrate salt with a molar mass of 164.088 g/mol and a density of 2.5 g/cm3.

It is soluble in water, ammonia, and acetone and insoluble in nitric acid. It melts at 561°C (1,042 °F).

Meanwhile, its tetrahydrate has a molar mass of 236.15 g/mol, and a density of 1.896 g/cm3. It also boils at 132°C (270°F) and melts at 42.7°C (109°F).

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Uses Of Calcium Nitrate

• This compound is majorly and most popularly used in the production of fertilizers.
Its calcium and nitrogen source makes it multipurpose and usable for plants having either calcium or nitrogen deficiency.
This makes it a very pivotal compound for plants that bear fruit. This fertilizer is also the only fertilizer that is water-soluble and provides calcium for plants. To ensure its easy absorption by plants, this inorganic salt is applied in a dissolved form.
In addition, If calcium nitrate is combined with magnesium sulphate at an adequate amount, it can also be used to treat magnesium deficiencies.

• Ca(NO3)2 is also used as an oxidizing agent.

• It is used as an additive to fasten the mixture of concrete.

• It is used in the regulation and treatment of diseases like the bitter pit, cork spot and blossom end rot in plants.

• It is used in the production of fireworks and incandescent lights.

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• It serves as a coagulant in the production of latex.

• It is used in sewage processing.

• It is used in the improvement of crops’ storage quality.

• It is used in the treatment of wastewater hence regulating odour pollution.

• It is used in regeneratable cold packs due to the cold form it attains when dissolved.

• It is used in the production of bombs.

• It is used as a raw material in the production of other nitrate compounds.

Health Concerns

Health Concern Calcium Nitrate

Calcium Nitrate is a very lethal substance so it should be treated as such.
It is a very strong oxidizing agent and can pose a threat if exposed to fire.

Inhalation of this substance or short-term exposure to it causes coughing, dizziness, soreness in the throat, headache, nausea while Ingestion of this substance can cause vomiting.

Long-term exposure to this compound’s fumes will lead to skin irritation, dryness of the skin, itchy skin, skin rashes, and reddening of the skin.