Calcium is known as a chemical element whose atomic number is 20, it is represented by the symbol Ca. Its atomic mass is equal to 40.078 u. Calcium is characterized by being a grayish and soft metal, it is the fifth most abundant element by mass on the planet.
Likewise, it is the most abundant ion found dissolved in seawater, due to its mass and molarity, after chlorides, magnesium, sodium, and sulfates.
This element is found in the internal part of the organisms in the form of calcium ion or with other molecules. In some living beings, it is in the form of an external skeleton like the shells of molluscs or in the form of an internal skeleton like in the bones of vertebrates.
Calcium ions function as a cofactor in many enzymatic reactions. They are part of glycogen metabolism and, together with sodium and potassium, are responsible for regulating muscle contraction.
The amount of calcium in organisms can vary, it will always depend on the species but by making an approximate calculation, in living beings it represents 2.45%, while in plants it is only found at 0.0007%.
General uses and applications of calcium
- Calcium is used to produce certain metals by acting as an alloying agent.
- It is possible to use calcium as a reducing agent during the extraction of the metal.
- Calcium carbonate is added to mineral supplements and toothpastes.
- Calcium carbonate is also used to make mortar and cement. She is also involved in the glass industry.
- Calcium arsenate functions as an insecticidal phosphide and is used as a rodenticide, also in fireworks.
- Calcium carbide is used for the creation of acetylene gas and plastics.
- Calcium hydroxide solution is used as slate chalk and to create plaster of Paris as a hemihydrate.
- Calcium phosphate is used in fertilizers and in animal feed.
- Calcium stearate is used to create crayons, plastics, cosmetics and paints.
- Calcium gluconate is used as a food additive.
Electron configuration of calcium
The complete electron configuration of calcium is 1s22s22p63s23p64s2. This element has a total of 20 electrons distributed in its shells as follows: in the first there are 2 electrons, in the second shell there are 8, in the third shell there are also 8, while in the fourth there are only 2.
One of the ways to realize the orbital diagram of calcium and the simplified electron configuration is to take into account Kerner’s rule. This model serves to perfectly abbreviate the Electron structure of an element and its orbital diagram.
To obtain this simplified configuration, it is necessary to take as reference the noble gases which are located in group VIIIA of the periodic table, these are helium, argon, krypton, xenon and radon. Therefore, at first glance, it is conclusive that the abbreviated or simplified configuration with Kernel of this element is [Ar] 4s2.
Biological role of calcium
The main role of calcium in the body is to provide strength and structure to the skeleton. In the earliest forms of grenades and exoskeleton, structural rigidity was usually provided by calcium carbonate. In vertebrates such as fish, reptiles, mammals, and humans, this structure is essentially provided by a form of calcium phosphate crystals known as hydroxyapatite, which is found in collagen.
Calcium ions present on the surface of bone interact with those present in body fluids. Due to this, ion exchange is generated, which is extremely important for maintaining the balance of calcium in the bones and in the blood.
The calcium present in the extracellular fluid is used to deposit the circulating calcium. This type of calcium enters the extracellular fluid through the gastrointestinal tract where it obtains the food that humans consume. Calcium is also available through the process known as calcium resorption. This is the distribution that bone tissue has with osteoclast cells.
Calcium circulating in the blood is involved in various vital processes such as nerve signal transmission, coagulation, muscle contraction and hormonal signal transmission.