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Calcium, also pronounced KAL-see-em, is the fifth most common element in the earth’s crust. It is a heavy alkaline metal that has few industrial uses, but is found in many chemical compounds.
Ca is used in the production of various forms of metals such as thorium and uranium, and for its reducing agent role in the preparation of some other rare earth elements. It also serves as a deoxidizer, desulfurizer and decarburizer for a wide range of ferrous and nonferrous alloys.
Besides being an essential element for life, calcium is also important for the formation of cave stalactites and stalagmites and for its role as a catalyst in sulfate reduction reactions. It is a common component of limestone and gypsum, which are commonly used in construction.
Calcium is a fairly reactive metal that easily combines with water to form hydrogen gas and calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2). It is also reacted with acid, giving dissociated ions of Ca and Cl along with hydrogen gas.
Another common reaction of calcium is with oxygen to produce a flammable gas, acetylene. The gas is a powerful fuel for welding torches, and is also a useful source of ignition for carbide lamps.
However, room-temperature Ca deposition/stripping is impeded by the formation of ionic insulating interfaces on ca metal. Electrolyte optimization could partially enhance this process, but the precise regulation of these interfaces remains challenging. To circumvent this problem, we constructed ex situ artificial layers on ca metal via a facile displacement reaction between metal halides and Ca.