One of the several different forms of salt, calcium chloride is a solid that is capable of absorbing a great deal of liquid. There are many different uses for this type of salt, including such diverse applications as removing ice from roadways to preserving commercially canned foods. While helpful in many ways, consumption of large amounts of this substance can lead to a great deal of gastronomical distress.
There is more than one way to produce calcium chloride for commercial use. One approach is to extract the salt from limestone. Today, much of the product used is created as by-products from other sorts of processing. This by-product can be used for so many of the same applications as sodium chloride, commonly known as rock salt, causing the two to often be confused.
The ability of calcium chloride to absorb a great deal of liquid is one of the qualities that make it so versatile. For example, this product works much more efficiently than rock salt when it comes to clearing snow and ice from sidewalks, streets, and roadways. This is particularly true at lower temperatures. There are some drawbacks with this application, since there is some evidence that the product may be more harmful to live plants than rock salt.
Many pools utilize products containing calcium chloride, especially in areas where there is relatively little calcium found in the water. Use of this product helps to increase the calcium content of the water, which in turn minimizes the potential for corrosion on the pumps. The products also limit corrosion with various types of pool equipment, as well as any pool fittings that are made with metal.
This substance is also used in a number of other applications. For example, sprinkling the product on roads in arid climates, especially deserts, can help to minimize the amount of dust that is kicked up due to traffic. The product can be used to dry kelp, thus aiding in the production of soda ash. It can be used as an ingredient in different types of plastic products, as well as helping to thin liquid fabric softeners.
The preservative effects of calcium chloride also make it useful for food preparation and storage. Limited amounts can be used as electrolytes in various types of sports drinks, providing a salty taste that helps offset some of the heavy sweetness of these products. When it comes to canned fruit and vegetables, the use of calcium chloride helps the food to remain solid even when packed in liquids. Many pickle manufacturers use this type of salt to add taste without actually increasing the amount of salt required to achieve the desired flavor.