- Calcium hypochlorite
Name = Calcium hypochlorite
ImageName = Calcium hypochlorite
Section1 = Chembox Identifiers
CASNo = 7778-54-3
Section2 = Chembox Properties
Formula = Ca(ClO)2
MolarMass = 142.98 g/mol
Density = 2.35 g/cm3
Solvent = other solvents
SolubleOther = 21 g/100 ml (25°C)
MeltingPt = Decomposes at 100°C
Calcium hypochlorite is a
chemical compoundwith formula calcium(hypochlorite)2. It is widely used for water treatmentand as a bleaching agent (bleaching powder). This chemical is considered to be relatively stable and has greater available chlorinethan sodium hypochlorite(liquid bleach).
It is manufactured using the calcium process or the sodium process.
:2 Ca(OH)2 + 2 Cl2 → Ca(ClO)2 + CaCl2 + 2 H2O
:2 Ca(OH)2 + 3 Cl2 + 2 NaOH → Ca(ClO)2 + CaCl2 + 2 H2O + 2 NaCl
Bleaching powder is actually a mixture of calcium hypochlorite Ca(ClO)2 and the basic chloride CaCl2, Ca(OH)2, H2O with some slaked lime, Ca(OH)2.
It is a yellow white solid which has a strong smell of
chlorine. Calcium hypochlorite is not highly soluble in water. For that reason it should preferably be used in soft to middle hard water. There are two types of calcium hypochlorite - a dry form and a hydrated form. The hydrated form is safer to handle.
Calcium hypochlorite reacts with
carbon dioxideto form calcium carbonateand release chlorine::2Ca(ClO)2 + 2CO2 → 2CaCO3 + 2Cl2 + O2
Calcium hypochlorite reacts with
hydrochloric acidto form calcium chloride::Ca(ClO)2 + 4 HCl → CaCl2 + 2 H2O + 2 Cl2
Extreme care should be used in handling this product. Always keep in a cool dry place away from any organic material. When mixing it with water, it is safest to add the calcium hypochlorite to water. This material has been known to undergo self heating and rapid decomposition accompanied by the release of toxic chlorine gas.
Calcium hypochlorite is used for the disinfection of drinking water or swimming pool water. For use in outdoor swimming pools, calcium hypochlorite can be used as a sanitizer in combination with a
cyanuric acidstabilizer. The stabilizer will reduce the loss of chlorine because of UV radiation. Calcium does make the water 'hard' and tends to clog up some filters. However, some types of calcium hypochlorite do contain anti-scaling agents in order to prevent clogging up of pipes/filters. This grade of calcium hypochlorite can also be used in hard waters. The main advantage of calcium hypochlorite is that it is unstabilised unlike chlorinated isocyanurates such as sodium dichloroisocyanurate or trichloroisocyanuric acid. Latter products do contain cyanuric acid. If the level of cyanuric acid becomes too high, it will influence the performance of the chlorine. Pools running on chlorinated isocyanurates should maintain a free chlorine level between 2 and 5 ppm (mg/L), whereas pools running on calcium hypochlorite should have a chlorine level of 1-2 ppm (mg/L).
Calcium hypochlorite (known as 'bleaching powder') is also used for bleaching cotton and linen and is used in the manufacture of
Calcium hypochlorite, which is easily obtainable in the form of pool chlorinating agents, has been used to make 'recreational' bombs. (sometimes referred to as "chlorine bombs") Due to its oxidising property, calcium hypochlorite can be mixed with readily oxidised substances (eg.
glycerine, or glycols from brake fluid) to make a weak explosive. An alternative is to mix calcium hypochlorite with weak household acids ( cola, vinegar), a mixture which will not explode per se, but create a large amount of gas, predominantly chlorine. Both variants are prepared by placing an amount of calcium hypochlorite-containing pool chlorinator into a bottle made preferably from plastic, then adding either an easily oxidised or acidic substance, putting the lid on the bottle, shaking it and throwing it away. The amount of gas produced by the chemical reaction of the two substances will eventually (usually after a few seconds) cause the bottle to rupture explosively. When mixed with flammable substances, flames may be produced as well. While experimenting with 'household' explosive mixtures is obviously a high-risk activity, there are additional dangers. Not only is there a real possibility of the bomb 'going off' earlier than expected and causing serious injury, but the substances involved in the preparation, as well as the products of the chemical reaction, are harmful (calcium hypochlorite being corrosive, an irritantand strong oxidiser; chlorine gas being highly toxic). "While plastic bottles will usually just rupture and not produce shrapnel, glass bottles will explode into sharp fragments which can very seriously injure persons standing nearby."
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