Calcium Carbonate – history
Uses of CaCO3 from prehistory to modern times
Calcium carbonate has been used from as early as 40,000 BC to present day. The history of calcium carbonate illustrates how we have been able to utilise the unique properties of this mineral in applications ranging from prehistoric cave paintings to modern paper and plastic manufacturing.
The Anglo-Saxons referred to chalk as “Hwiting-melu”, literally “whitening powder”. And this was exactly what chalk was used for over the millenia, be it as a white pigment in paints, primers and plasters.
The main preconditions for the widespread of chalk over other forms of calcium carbonate, were the ease with which it could be quarried and processed. The Anglo-Saxons quarried chalk all around Dover on the South Coast. They found the soft rock could easily be quarried with simple tools such as saws and axes. Moreover it was usually sufficient to merely crush and grind the chalk chunks to produce a powder in the required quality
Chalk is still referred to as “whiting” to this day but, along with other forms of ground calcium carbonate including limestone and marble, is now used in a wide range of products that touch people every day lives. Calcium carbonate is one of the most widely used raw materials in the world and new applications are constantly being developed so it is likely that its use will continue to grow well into the next millenia.