About Carbonates

Carbonates are salts or esters of carbonic acid and contain the carbonate ion, CO32−. Most carbonate salts are insoluble in water, but those that are soluble—carbonates of lithium, sodium, potassium, ammonium, and uranium—produce alkaline aqueous solutions. Metal carbonates decompose into carbon dioxide and a metal oxide upon heating, a process known as calcination. This name is derived from calx, the Latin name of calcium oxide or quick lime, which is produced by roasting calcium carbonate minerals, known commonly as limestone, in a kiln. Many naturally-occurring minerals including calcite, dolomite, and aragonite, also consist of or contain carbonates. Calcium carbonate and carbonates of other alkali and alkali earth metals are important chemical commodities, and among other uses are found as drying agents, electrolytes, buffering or pH adjusting agents, and fluxes in the production of ceramics and glass. Other metal carbonates are primarily used as sources of the metal they contain or as chemical reagents/catalysts.