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Calcium fluoride

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Title: Calcium fluoride  
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Subject: Lanthanide, Barium fluoride, Fluorite, Thermoluminescent dosimeter, Calcium iodide
Collection: Calcium Compounds, Crystals, Fluorides, Fluorite, Metal Halides, Optical Materials
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Calcium fluoride

Calcium fluoride
ChemSpider  Y
EC number 232-188-7
Jmol-3D images Image
RTECS number EW1760000
Molar mass 78.07 g·mol−1
Appearance White crystalline solid (single crystals are transparent)
Density 3.18 g/cm3
Melting point 1,418 °C (2,584 °F; 1,691 K)
Boiling point 2,533 °C (4,591 °F; 2,806 K)
0.0015 g/100 mL (18 °C)
0.0016 g/100 mL (20 °C)
3.9 × 10−11 [1]
Solubility insoluble in acetone
slightly soluble in acid
cubic crystal system, cF12[2]
Fm3m, #225
Ca, 8, cubic
F, 4, tetrahedral
Main hazards Reacts with conc. sulfuric acid to produce hydrofluoric acid
Safety data sheet ICSC 1323
R-phrases R20, R22, R36, R37, R38
S-phrases S26, S36
NFPA 704
Flash point Non-flammable
Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):
>5000 mg/kg (oral, guinea pig)
4250 mg/kg (oral, rat)[3]
Related compounds
Other anions
Calcium chloride
Calcium bromide
Calcium iodide
Other cations
Beryllium fluoride
Magnesium fluoride
Strontium fluoride
Barium fluoride
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
 Y  (: Y/N?)

Calcium fluoride is the formula CaF2. It is a colourless insoluble solid. It occurs as the mineral fluorite (also called fluorspar), which is often deeply coloured owing to impurities.


  • Chemical structure 1
  • Preparation 2
  • Applications 3
    • Niche uses 3.1
  • Safety 4
  • References 5
  • See also 6
    • Related materials 6.1
  • External links 7

Chemical structure

The compound crystallizes in a cubic motif. Ca2+ centres are eight-coordinate, being centered in a "box" for eight F centres. Each F centre is coordinated to four Ca2+ centre.[4] Although perfectly packed crystalline samples are colorless, the mineral is often deeply colored due to the presence of F-centers.

The unit cell of CaF2.


The mineral fluorite is abundant, widespread, and mainly of interest as a precursor to HF. Thus, little motivation exists for the industrial production of CaF2. High purity CaF2 is produced by treating calcium carbonate with hydrofluoric acid:[5]

CaCO3 + 2 HF → CaF2 + CO2 + H2O


Naturally occurring CaF2 is the principal source of hydrogen fluoride, a commodity chemical used to produce a wide range of materials. Calcium fluoride in the fluorite state is of significant commercial importance as a fluoride source.[6] Hydrogen fluoride is liberated from the mineral by the action of concentrated sulfuric acid:[7]

CaF2 + H2SO4CaSO4(solid) + 2 HF

Niche uses

Calcium fluoride is used to manufacture optical components such as windows and lenses, used in thermal imaging systems, spectroscopy, and excimer lasers. It is transparent over a broad range from ultraviolet (UV) to infrared (IR) frequencies. Its low refractive index eliminates the need for anti-reflection coatings. Its insolubility in water is convenient as well.


CaF2 is classified "not dangerous", although reacting it with sulphuric acid produces toxic hydrofluoric acid. With regards to inhalation, the NIOSH-recommended concentration of fluorine-containing dusts is 2.5 mg/m3 in air.[5]


  1. ^ Pradyot Patnaik. Handbook of Inorganic Chemicals. McGraw-Hill, 2002, ISBN 0-07-049439-8
  2. ^ X-ray Diffraction Investigations of CaF2 at High Pressure, L. Gerward, J. S. Olsen, S. Steenstrup, M. Malinowski, S. Åsbrink and A. Waskowska, Journal of Applied Crystallography (1992), 25, 578-581 doi:10.1107/S0021889892004096
  3. ^ "Fluorides (as F)". Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health.  
  4. ^ G. L. Miessler and D. A. Tarr “Inorganic Chemistry” 3rd Ed, Pearson/Prentice Hall publisher, ISBN 0-13-035471-6.
  5. ^ a b Aigueperse, Jean; Paul Mollard, Didier Devilliers, Marius Chemla, Robert Faron, Renée Romano, Jean Pierre Cuer (2005), "Fluorine Compounds, Inorganic", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH,  
  6. ^ Aigueperse, Jean; Mollard, Paul; Devilliers, Didier; Chemla, Marius; Faron, Robert; Romano, Renée; Cuer, Jean Pierre (2005), "Fluorine Compounds, Inorganic", Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, p. 307, doi:10.1002/14356007.a11_307.
  7. ^ Holleman, A. F.; Wiberg, E. "Inorganic Chemistry" Academic Press: San Diego, 2001. ISBN 0-12-352651-5.

See also

Related materials

External links

  • NIST webbook thermochemistry data
  • Charles Townes on the history of lasers
  • National Pollutant Inventory - Fluoride and compounds fact sheet
  • Crystran Material Data
  • MSDS (University of Oxford)
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