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English: Sulphate of calcium, Gypsum, Plaster of Paris
Italian: solfato si calcio, gesso
French: Sulfate de chaux;
Minerals; Inorganic; Column Two
The drug was proved by Dr. Clarence Conant, U.S. Allen's Encyclop. Mat. Med. Vol. 11, 410.
Description of the substance
The foto is taken from Wikipedia (7/11), the author kindly released into the public domain (License: see here).
Calcium sulfate (or calcium sulphate) is a common laboratory and industrial chemical. In the form of γ-anhydrite (the nearly anhydrous form), it is used as a desiccant. It is also used as a coagulant in products like tofu. In the natural state, unrefined calcium sulfate is a translucent, crystalline white rock. When sold as a color-indicating variant under the name Drierite, it appears blue or pink due to impregnation with Cobalt(II) chloride, which functions as a moisture indicator. The hemihydrate (CaSO4·~0.5H2O) is better known as plaster of Paris, while the dihydrate (CaSO4·2H2O) occurs naturally as gypsum. The anhydrous form occurs naturally as β-anhydrite. Depending on the method of calcination of calcium sulfate dihydrate, specific hemihydrates are sometimes distinguished: alpha-hemihydrate and beta-hemihydrate. They appear to differ only in crystal size. Alpha-hemihydrate crystals are more prismatic than beta-hemihydrate crystals and, when mixed with water, form a much stronger and harder superstructure.
The main sources of calcium sulfate are naturally occurring gypsum and anhydrite which occur at many locations worldwide as evaporites. These may be extracted by open-cast quarrying or by deep mining. World production of natural gypsum is around 127 million tonnes per annum.
In addition to natural sources, calcium sulfate is produced as a by-product in a number of processes:
In flue gas desulfurization, exhaust gases from fossil-fuel-burning power stations and other processes (e.g. cement manufacture) are scrubbed to reduce their sulfur oxide content, by injecting finely ground limestone or lime. This produces an impure calcium sulfite, which oxidizes on storage to calcium sulfate.
In the production of phosphoric acid from phosphate rock, calcium phosphate is treated with sulfuric acid and calcium sulfate precipitates.
In the production of hydrogen fluoride, calcium fluoride is treated with sulfuric acid, precipitating calcium sulfate.
In the refining of zinc, solutions of zinc sulfate are treated with lime to co-precipitate heavy metals such as barium.
Calcium sulfate can also be recovered and re-used from scrap drywall at construction sites.
These precipitation processes tend to concentrate radioactive elements in the calcium sulfate product. This is particularly the case with the phosphate by-product, since phosphate rocks naturally contain actinides.
THE MINERAL GYPSUM
* Chemistry: CaSO4-2(H2O), Hydrated Calcium Sulfate
* Class: Sulfates
* Uses: plaster, wall board, some cements, fertilizer, paint filler, ornamental stone, etc..
Gypsum is one of the more common minerals in sedimentary environments. It is a major rock forming mineral that produces massive beds, usually from precipitation out of highly saline waters. Since it forms easily from saline water, gypsum can have many inclusions of other minerals and even trapped bubbles of air and water.
Gypsum has several variety names that are widely used in the mineral trade.
* "Selenite" is the colorless and transparent variety that shows a pearl like luster and has been described as having a moon like glow. The word selenite comes from the greek for Moon and means moon rock.
* Another variety is a compact fiberous aggregate called "satin spar" . This variety has a very satin like look that gives a play of light up and down the fiberous crystals.
* A fine grained massive material is called "alabaster" and is an ornamental stone used in fine carvings for centuries, even eons.
* Color is usually white, colorless or gray, but can also be shades of red, brown and yellow.
* Luster is vitreous to pearly especially on cleavage surfaces.
* Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
* Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
* Crystal Habits include the tabular, bladed or blocky crystals with a slanted parallelogram outline. The pinacoid faces dominate with jutting prism faces on the edges of the tabular crystals. Long thin crystals show bends and some specimens bend into spirals called "Ram's Horn Selenite" Two types of twinning are common and one produces a "spear head twin" or "swallowtail twin" while the other type produces a "fishtail twin". Also massive, crusty, granular, earthy and fiberous.
* Cleavage is good in one direction and distinct in two others..
* Fracture is uneven but rarely seen.
* Hardness is 2 and can be scratched by a fingernail.
* Specific Gravity is approximately 2.3+ (light)
* Streak is white.
* Associated Minerals are halite, calcite, sulfur, pyrite, borax and many others.
* Other Characteristics: thin crystals are flexible but not elastic, meaning they can be bent but will not bend back on their own. Also some samples are fluorescent. Gypsum has a very low thermal conductivity (hence it's use in drywall as an insulating filler). A crystal of Gypsum will feel noticeably warmer than a like crystal of quartz.
* Notable Occurances include Naica, Mexico; Sicily; Utah and Colorado, USA; and many other locallities throughout the world.
* Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, flexible crystals, cleavage and hardness.