Calcium carbonate is a white powder commonly found in rocks and in shells of marine and land organism, pearls, and egg shell. The main applications of calcium carbonate are in paper, construction industry, paints, plastics, ceramics and food. It is also found in agricultural lime which adjusts soil properties and acts as a fertilizer. It is commonly used as a calcium supplement or antacid.
Calcium carbonate is processed into different types; grounded or GCC, precipitated or PCC and coated precipitated or CPCC. The particle sizes in PCC are smaller than GCC and thus it is more effective as filler in products such as paper for better brightness, opacity and printability. PCC also offers better retention than other fillers and reduces fibre consumption as it fills the paper effectively. It is less abrasive than GCC due to the smaller size and thus the paper machine lasts longer and has greater speed, productivity and readability. However, paper containing PCC has poorer formed than those containing GCC.
GCC is cheaper and provides relatively high brightness. GCC also creates a porous surface due to the large particle size and as it is hydrophobic, it liberates water readily. PCC is coated with small amount of fatty acids such as stearic acid or other organic materials to be used in non-aqueous systems to obtain a coated precipitated calcium carbonate or CPCC. The coatings allow greater compatibility and easier dispersal of PCC in polymer or solvent. Overall, the coating enhances the performance and efficiency of the PCC. The enhanced performance in the CPCC differentiates itself from GCC and it is commonly used in polymers such as PVC.
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