Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Discovery of calcium

Calcium carbonate has been used from as early as 40,000 BC. The major prehistoric use was the flints within the chalk, that were used as tools.

The name calcium is derived from Latin word calx meaning lime was known as early as the first centuries when the ancient Romans prepared lime as CaO.

The Romans heated calx (limestone) to produce a decarbonation reaction leaving calcium oxide as the solid residue. The Romans built vast amphitheaters and aqueducts using calcium oxide cement to bond stones together.

Calcium was not actually isolated until 1808 in England when Sir Humphrey Davy electrolyzed a mixture of lime and mercuric oxide. Davy was trying to isolate calcium along with magnesium, strontium and barium. Out of alkaline earth group, Ca has achieved the greatest use and tonnage.

In 1840 - synthetic calcium carbonate first produced. Linoleum, a durable floor covering containing calcium carbonate was first used in 1860.

Sir Humphrey Davy was a British chemist and inventor. He was born on December 17, 1778 in England and died on May 29, 1829 in Switzerland.

He discovered some alkali and alkali earth metals and helped discover chlorine and iodine. He was the first to state that atoms are held together by electrical forces and used electrolysis.

Some of his outstanding contributions include:
* The realization that chemical forces were, fundamentally, electrical in nature—a point that was taken up and incontrovertibly established later by Faraday, Helmholtz, Stoney and Thomson
*discovered sodium, potassium, calcium, barium, strontium, magnesium and boron
*demonstrated that chlorine was an element
* determined the capacity of the human lung
*The first demonstration and construction of a concentration cell, whereby an emf is produced by chemical diffusion.
* invented the carbon arc, used for street lighting
* demolished Lavoisier’s contention that all acids contain oxygen; the so-called oxymuriatic acid turned out to be HCl, hydrogen chloride
*The first preparation of nitrous oxide in a pure form; Davy was also the first to discover its anaesthetic properties
* laid the foundation of agricultural chemistry; he had worked out the productivity and nutritional value of various grasses and also the nutrients required to be added to soil to facilitate growth
Discovery of calcium

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