Calcium hypochlorite

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Bleaching Powder
Calcium oxychloride
Other names
Hypochlorous acid calcium salt, bleaching powder, calcium oxychloride, chloride of lime
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.029.007 Edit this at Wikidata
EC Number
  • 231-908-7
RTECS number
  • NH3485000
UN number 1748 2208
  • InChI=1S/Ca.2ClO/c;2*1-2/q+2;2*-1 checkY
  • InChI=1S/Cacl.ClO/c;1-2/q+2;2*-1
  • Cl[O-].[Ca+2].Cl[O-]
Molar mass 142.98 g/mol
Appearance white/gray powder
Density 2.35 g/cm3 (20 °C)
Melting point 100 °C (212 °F; 373 K)
Boiling point 175 °C (347 °F; 448 K) decomposes
21 g/100 mL at 25 °C
Solubility reacts in alcohol
GHS labelling:
GHS03: OxidizingGHS05: CorrosiveGHS07: Exclamation markGHS09: Environmental hazard
H272, H302, H314, H400
P210, P220, P221, P260, P264, P270, P273, P280, P301+P312, P301+P330+P331, P303+P361+P353, P304+P340, P305+P351+P338, P310, P321, P330, P363, P370+P378, P391, P405, P501
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Flash point Non-flammable
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
850 mg/kg (oral, rat)
Safety data sheet (SDS) ICSC 0638
Related compounds
Other anions
Calcium chloride
Other cations
Sodium hypochlorite
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Calcium hypochlorite is an inorganic compound with formula Ca(OCl)2. It is the main active ingredient of commercial products called bleaching powder, chlorine powder, or chlorinated lime, used for water treatment and as a bleaching agent.[1] This compound is relatively stable and has greater available chlorine than sodium hypochlorite.[2] It is a white solid, although commercial samples appear yellow. It strongly smells of chlorine, owing to its slow decomposition in moist air.


Charles Tennant and Charles Macintosh developed an industrial process for the manufacture of Chloride of Lime in the late 18th Century.[3] It was patented in 1799 and used heavily during World War I for disinfecting the trenches and wounds.



Calcium hypochlorite is commonly used to sanitize public swimming pools and disinfect drinking water. Generally the commercial substances are sold with a purity of 65% to 73% with other chemicals present, such as calcium chloride and calcium carbonate, resulting from the manufacturing process. As a swimming pool chemical, it is blended with other chemicals less often than other forms of chlorine, due to dangerous reactions with some common pool chemicals. In solution, calcium hypochlorite could be used as a general purpose sanitizer,[4] but due to calcium residue, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) is usually preferred.

Organic chemistry[edit]

Calcium hypochlorite is a general oxidizing agent and therefore finds some use in organic chemistry.[5] For instance the compound is used to cleave glycols, α-hydroxy carboxylic acids and keto acids to yield fragmented aldehydes or carboxylic acids.[6] Calcium hypochlorite can also be used in the haloform reaction to manufacture chloroform.[7] Calcium hypochlorite can be used to oxidize thiol and sulfide byproducts in organic synthesis and thereby reduce their odour and make them safe to dispose of.[8]


Calcium hypochlorite is produced industrially by treating lime (Ca(OH)2) with chlorine gas. The reaction can be conducted in stages to give various compositions, each with different concentration of calcium hypochlorite, together with unconverted lime and calcium chloride. The full reaction is shown below:[1]

Bleaching powder is made with slightly moist slaked lime. It is not a simple mixture of calcium hypochlorite, calcium chloride, and calcium hydroxide. Instead, it is a mixture consisting principally of calcium hypochlorite Ca(OCl)2, dibasic calcium hypochlorite Ca3(OCl)2(OH)4 (also written as Ca(OCl)2 · 2 Ca(OH)2), and dibasic calcium chloride Ca3Cl2(OH)4 (calcium hydroxychloride also written as CaCl2 · 2 Ca(OH)2).[9]


Calcium hypochlorite reacts rapidly with acids at room temperature producing calcium chloride, chlorine gas and water:

Ca(ClO)2 + 4HCl → CaCl2 + 2Cl2 + 2H2O

Calcium oxychlorides[edit]

A confusion sometimes reigns between calcium oxychlorides and calcium hypochlorite. Indeed, the name calcium oxychloride (or calcium hydroxychloride) does not immediately refer to calcium hypochlorite, but is only applicable to the mixed calcium basic chloride compounds remaining unreacted in the bleaching powder, such as, e.g. CaCl2 · 2 Ca(OH)2.

Calcium oxychloride may also be formed in concrete in roads and bridges when calcium chloride is used as deicing agent during winter. Calcium chloride then reacts with calcium hydroxide (portlandite) present in cement hydration products and forms a deleterious expanding phase also named CAOXY (abbreviation for calcium oxychloride) by concrete technologists. The stress induced into concrete by crystallisation pressure and CAOXY salt expansion can considerably reduce the strength of concrete.[10][11]


It is a strong oxidizing agent, as it contains a hypochlorite ion at the valence +1 (redox state: Cl+1).

Calcium hypochlorite should not be stored wet and hot, or near any acid, organic materials, or metals. The unhydrated form is safer to handle.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Vogt, H.; Balej, J; Bennett, J. E.; Wintzer, P.; Sheikh, S. A.; Gallone, P.; Vasudevan, S.; Pelin, K. (2010). "Chlorine Oxides and Chlorine Oxygen Acids". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a06_483.pub2. ISBN 978-3527306732.
  2. ^ Gerald F. Connell. "Key operating strategies for chlorine disinfection operating systems" (PDF). Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Calcium hypochlorite". Chemistry World.
  4. ^ Chemical Products Synopsis: Calcium Hypochlorite (Technical report). Asbuiy Park, NJ: Mannsvile Chemical Products. 1987.
  5. ^ Nwaukwa, Stephen; Keehn, Philip (1982). "The oxidation of aldehydes to acids with calcium hypochlorite [Ca(OCl)2]". Tetrahedron Letters. 23 (31): 3131–3134. doi:10.1016/S0040-4039(00)88577-9.
  6. ^ Nwaukwa, Stephen; Keehn, Philip (1982). "Oxidative cleavage of α-diols, α-diones, α-hydroxy-ketones and α-hydroxy- and α-keto acids with calcium hypochlorite [Ca(OCl)2]". Tetrahedron Letters. 23 (31): 3135–3138. doi:10.1016/S0040-4039(00)88578-0.
  7. ^ Cohen, Julius (1900). Practical Organic Chemistry for Advanced Students. New York: Macmillan & Co. p. 63.
  8. ^ National Research Council (1995). Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. p. 161. doi:10.17226/4911. ISBN 978-0-309-05229-0.
  9. ^ W.L Smith, Inorganic bleaches, Production of Hypochlorite in Handbook of Detergents,Part F, (2009) Ed. U Zoller and Paul Sosis, CRC Press, ISBN 978-0-8247-0349-3
  10. ^ "Calcium-munching bacteria could be a secret weapon against road salt eating away at concrete roads and bridges". The Conversation. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  11. ^ Suraneni, Prannoy; Monical, Jonathan; Unal, Erol; Farnam, Yaghoob; Weiss, Jason (2017). "Calcium Oxychloride Formation Potential in Cementitious Pastes Exposed to Blends of Deicing Salt". ACI Materials Journal. 114 (4). doi:10.14359/51689607.

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