Calcium Nitrate - Ca(NO3)2

What is Calcium Nitrate?

Calcium nitrate is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ca(NO3)2.

Another name for Calcium nitrate is Norgessalpeter. It was synthesized by the Birkeland–Eyde process at Notodden, Norway in 1905. It is a nitrate salt of Calcium which contains calcium and nitrogen and oxygen. Calcium nitrate is a white or whitish-grey coloured granular solid which absorbs moisture from the air and is usually found as a tetrahydrate compound Ca(NO3)2.4H2O.

Structure of Ca(NO3)2 Molecules

Calcium Nitrate Structure

Calcium Nitrate Structure – Ca(NO3)2

Preparation of Calcium Nitrate

Calcium nitrate is a complex fertilizer. It can be prepared by any of the following methods.

1. When calcium carbonate usually known as limestone is treated with nitric acid calcium nitrate is formed. The reaction is as follows.

CaCO3 + 2HNO3 → Ca(NO3)2 + CO2 + H2O

2. Calcium nitrate is also formed when an ammonium nitrate solution is mixed with a calcium hydroxide solution. The reaction is as follows.

2NH4NO3 + Ca(OH)2 → Ca(NO3)2 + 2NH4OH

Properties of Calcium Nitrate – Ca(NO3)2

Ca(NO3)2 Calcium nitrate
Density 2.5 g/cm3
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass 164.088 g/mol
Melting Point 561 °C
Boiling Point 132 °C
Compound Formula ‎CaN2O6

Physical Properties of Ca(NO3)2

Odour No Odour
Appearance White deliquescent granules
Vapour Pressure 49.800000 mm/Hg
Solubility Soluble in acetone and alcohol, but insoluble in concentrated nitric acid.

Chemical Properties of Ca(NO3)2

1. On heating, it undergoes decomposition and releases nitrogen dioxide and oxygen.

Ca(NO3)2 → CaO + 2 NO2 + ½ O2

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

Ca(NO3)2 + Na2CO3 → 2 NaNO3 + CaCO3

Uses of Calcium Nitrate 

  • Used in agriculture as a fertilizer and in match manufacture as an oxidizing agent.
  • It is also used in the explosives and pyrotechnics industries.
  • It is used to make fireworks and incandescent lamp chimney in the light industry.
  • Used as a raw material in making other nitrate compounds.
  • Used to improve the storage quality of crops reducing bitter pit in apples.

In wastewater pre-conditioning for odour pollution control, calcium nitrate is used. The pre-conditioning of waste water is focused on the development of anoxic biology in the wastewater system. The metabolism of sulphates ceases in the presence of nitrate, thereby preventing the production of hydrogen sulfide. In addition, simple degradable organic matter is ingested, which can otherwise cause downstream anaerobic conditions as well as odour pollution. For surplus sludge treatment, the definition is also valid.

Calcium nitrate, especially in dipping processes, is known to be a very common coagulant in the production of latex. A part of the dipping bath solution often contains dissolved calcium nitrate. In the coagulation liquid, the warm former is often dipped and a thin layer of the dipping liquid remains on the former. The calcium nitrate will break up the stabilisation of the latex solution when the former is dipped into the latex and the latex will coagulate on the former.

This compound can also be used in molten salt mixtures. Since the dissolution of this compound in water is highly endothermic in nature, calcium nitrate can also be used as a component of cold packs. The tetrahydrate of this compound can be used in regeneratable cold packs.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What are the uses of calcium nitrate?

One of the most vital applications of calcium nitrate is its use in wastewater treatment plants for the preconditioning of the wastewater in order to prevent the emission of foul odour. Another important use of this compound is in the construction industry, where it is used as a component of set accelerating concrete admixtures. In the production of latex, calcium nitrate is widely used as a coagulant, especially during the dipping phase of the manufacturing process. The dipping bath used in the manufacture of latex usually contains a solution of calcium nitrate.

Which solvents have the ability to dissolve calcium nitrate?

In its anhydrous form, calcium nitrate is highly soluble in water and its solubility at a temperature of 20 degrees celsius corresponds to 1212 grams per litre. Even the tetrahydrate of this compound is highly soluble in water, with a solubility of 1290 grams per litre at a temperature of 20 degrees celsius. This compound is also soluble in ammonia, ethanol, and methanol. However, it is much more soluble in methanol than ethanol. The solubility of this compound in ethanol at 40 degrees celsius is 62.9 grams per 100 grams of ethanol. On the other hand, the solubility of this compound (at the same temperature) in methanol corresponds to 158 grams per 100 grams of methanol.

How can calcium nitrate be prepared?

Calcium nitrate can be prepared via several methods. The most common method of preparing this compound involves the treatment of limestone with nitric acid and the subsequent neutralization of the product formed with ammonia. This compound is also produced as an intermediate during the nitrophosphate process (commonly known as the Odda process).

Why is calcium nitrate used in fertilizers?

Calcium nitrate is known to serve as a multipurpose fertilizer since it acts as a source of both nitrogen and calcium. Thus, plants with deficiencies in either of these nutrients can be treated with calcium nitrate. This compound is particularly useful for feeding fruit-bearing plants. Ca(NO3)2 is also used to treat or prevent certain plant diseases.

Is calcium nitrate dangerous?

Yes, calcium nitrate can prove to be dangerous to human beings. Inhalation of this compound can cause coughing and soreness in the throat. Short-term side effects associated with exposure to this compound include dizziness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to this ionic salt can also lead to skin rashes, redness, and itchy skin. 

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