Calcium hydride

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Calcium hydride
Calcium Hydride (CaH2).jpg
IUPAC name
Calcium hydride
Other names
Calcium(II) hydride
Calcium dihydride
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.029.263
EC Number
  • 232-189-2
PubChem CID
Molar mass 42.094 g/mol
Appearancegray powder (white when pure)
Density 1.70 g/cm3, solid
Melting point 816 °C (1,501 °F; 1,089 K)
reacts violently
Solubility reacts in alcohol
Orthorhombic, oP12
Pnma, No. 62
41.4 J·mol−1·K−1 [1]
−181.5 kJ·mol−1
-142.5 kJ/mol
GHS pictograms GHS-pictogram-exclam.svg GHS-pictogram-acid.svg GHS-pictogram-flamme.svg GHS-pictogram-pollu.svg
GHS Signal word Danger
NFPA 704 (fire diamond)
Flammability code 3: Liquids and solids that can be ignited under almost all ambient temperature conditions. Flash point between 23 and 38 °C (73 and 100 °F). E.g. gasolineHealth code 3: Short exposure could cause serious temporary or residual injury. E.g. chlorine gasReactivity code 2: Undergoes violent chemical change at elevated temperatures and pressures, reacts violently with water, or may form explosive mixtures with water. E.g. white phosphorusSpecial hazard W: Reacts with water in an unusual or dangerous manner. E.g. sodium, sulfuric acidCalcium hydride
Related compounds
Other cations
Sodium hydride,
Potassium hydride
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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Infobox references

Calcium hydride is the chemical compound with the formula CaH2, and is therefore an alkaline earth hydride. This grey powder (white if pure, which is rare) reacts vigorously with water liberating hydrogen gas. CaH2 is thus used as a drying agent, i.e. a desiccant. [2]


CaH2 is a saline hydride, meaning that its structure is salt-like. The alkali metals and the alkaline earth metals heavier than beryllium all form saline hydrides. A well-known example is sodium hydride, which crystallizes in the NaCl motif. These species are insoluble in all solvents with which they do not react. CaH2 crystallizes in the PbCl2 (cotunnite) structure. [3]


Calcium hydride is prepared from its elements by direct combination of calcium and hydrogen at 300 to 400 °C. [4] [5]


Reduction of metal oxides

CaH2 is a reducing agent for the production of metal powders from the oxides of Ti, V, Nb, Ta, and U. It is proposed to operate via its decomposition to Ca metal: [4]

TiO2 + 2 CaH2 → Ti + 2 CaO + 2 H2

Hydrogen source

CaH2 has been used for hydrogen production. In the 1940s, it was available under the trade name "Hydrolith" as a source of hydrogen:

'The trade name for this compound is "hydrolith"; in cases of emergency, it can be used as a portable source of hydrogen, for filling airships. It is rather expensive for this use.' [6]

The reference to "emergency" probably refers to wartime use. The compound has, however, been widely used for decades as a safe and convenient means to inflate weather balloons. Likewise, it is regularly used in laboratories to produce small quantities of highly pure hydrogen for experiments. The moisture content of diesel fuel is estimated by the hydrogen evolved upon treatment with CaH2. [4]


The reaction of CaH2 with water can be represented as follows:

CaH2 + 2 H2O → Ca(OH)2 + 2 H2

The two hydrolysis products, gaseous H2 and Ca(OH)2, are readily separated from the dried solvent.

Calcium hydride is a relatively mild desiccant and, compared to molecular sieves, probably inefficient. [7] Its use is safer than more reactive agents such as sodium metal or sodium-potassium alloy. Calcium hydride is widely used as a desiccant for basic solvents such as amines and pyridine. It is also used to dry alcohols. [2]

Despite its convenience, CaH2 has a few drawbacks:


During the Battle of the Atlantic, German submarines used calcium hydride as a sonar decoy called bold. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Hydroxide family of the hydroxide salts

Hydroxide is a diatomic anion with chemical formula OH. It consists of an oxygen and hydrogen atom held together by a covalent bond, and carries a negative electric charge. It is an important but usually minor constituent of water. It functions as a base, a ligand, a nucleophile, and a catalyst. The hydroxide ion forms salts, some of which dissociate in aqueous solution, liberating solvated hydroxide ions. Sodium hydroxide is a multi-million-ton per annum commodity chemical. A hydroxide attached to a strongly electropositive center may itself ionize, liberating a hydrogen cation (H+), making the parent compound an acid.

Inorganic chemistry deals with the synthesis and behavior of inorganic and organometallic compounds. This field covers all chemical compounds except the myriad organic compounds, which are the subjects of organic chemistry. The distinction between the two disciplines is far from absolute, as there is much overlap in the subdiscipline of organometallic chemistry. It has applications in every aspect of the chemical industry, including catalysis, materials science, pigments, surfactants, coatings, medications, fuels, and agriculture.

Salt (chemistry) Ionic compound consisting of cations and anions

In chemistry, a salt is a solid chemical compound consisting of an ionic assembly of cations and anions. Salts are composed of related numbers of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral. These component ions can be inorganic, such as chloride (Cl), or organic, such as acetate ; and can be monatomic, such as fluoride (F) or polyatomic, such as sulfate.

Alkaline earth metal group of chemical elements

The alkaline earth metals are six chemical elements in group 2 of the periodic table. They are beryllium (Be), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), strontium (Sr), barium (Ba), and radium (Ra). The elements have very similar properties: they are all shiny, silvery-white, somewhat reactive metals at standard temperature and pressure.

Potassium ferrocyanide chemical compound

Potassium ferrocyanide is the inorganic compound with formula K4[Fe(CN)6]·3H2O. It is the potassium salt of the coordination complex [Fe(CN)6]4−. This salt forms lemon-yellow monoclinic crystals.

Sodium hydroxide Chemical compound with formula NaOH

Sodium hydroxide, also known as lye and caustic soda, is an inorganic compound with the formula NaOH. It is a white solid ionic compound consisting of sodium cations Na+
and hydroxide anions OH

Base (chemistry) substance that can react with an acid, accepting hydrogen ions (protons) or more generally, donating a pair of valence electrons

In chemistry, bases are substances that, in aqueous solution, release hydroxide (OH) ions, are slippery to the touch, can taste bitter if an alkali, change the color of indicators (e.g., turn red litmus paper blue), react with acids to form salts, promote certain chemical reactions (base catalysis), accept protons from any proton donor or contain completely or partially displaceable OH ions. Examples of bases are the hydroxides of the alkali metals and the alkaline earth metals (NaOH, Ca(OH)2, etc.—see alkali hydroxide and alkaline earth hydroxide).

In chemistry, a hydride is the anion of hydrogen, H, or more commonly it is a compound in which one or more hydrogen centres have nucleophilic, reducing, or basic properties. In compounds that are regarded as hydrides, the hydrogen atom is bonded to a more electropositive element or groups. Compounds containing hydrogen bonded to metals or metalloids may also be referred to as hydrides. Common examples are ammonia (NH3), methane (CH4), ethane (C2H6) (or any other hydrocarbon), and Nickel hydride (NiH), used in NiMH rechargeable batteries.

Potassium hydroxide chemical compound

Potassium hydroxide is an inorganic compound with the formula KOH, and is commonly called caustic potash.

Lithium aluminium hydride, commonly abbreviated to LAH, is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula LiAlH4. It was discovered by Finholt, Bond and Schlesinger in 1947. This compound is used as a reducing agent in organic synthesis, especially for the reduction of esters, carboxylic acids, and amides. The solid is dangerously reactive toward water, releasing gaseous hydrogen (H2). Some related derivatives have been discussed for hydrogen storage.

Sodium hydride chemical compound

Sodium hydride is the chemical compound with the empirical formula NaH. This alkali metal hydride is primarily used as a strong yet combustible base in organic synthesis. NaH is representative of the saline hydrides, meaning it is a salt-like hydride, composed of Na+ and H ions, in contrast to the more molecular hydrides such as borane, methane, ammonia and water. It is an ionic material that is insoluble in organic solvents (although soluble in molten Na), consistent with the fact that H remains an unknown anion in solution. Because of the insolubility of NaH, all reactions involving NaH occur at the surface of the solid.

Calcium peroxide chemical compound

Calcium peroxide or calcium dioxide is the inorganic compound with the formula CaO2. It is the peroxide (O22−) salt of Ca2+. Commercial samples can be yellowish, but the pure compound is white. It is almost insoluble in water.

Hypochlorite anion

In chemistry, hypochlorite is an ion with the chemical formula ClO. It combines with a number of cations to form hypochlorites, which may also be regarded as the salts of hypochlorous acid. Common examples include sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite.

Sodium borohydride chemical compound

Sodium borohydride, also known as sodium tetrahydridoborate and sodium tetrahydroborate, is an inorganic compound with the formula NaBH4. This white solid, usually encountered as a powder, is a reducing agent that finds application in chemistry, both in the laboratory and on an industrial scale. It has been tested as pretreatment for pulping of wood, but is too costly to be commercialized. The compound is soluble in alcohols, certain ethers, and water, although it slowly hydrolyzes.

Hydrazoic acid chemical compound

Hydrazoic acid, also known as hydrogen azide or azoimide, is a compound with the chemical formula HN3. It is a colorless, volatile, and explosive liquid at room temperature and pressure. It is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen, and is therefore a pnictogen hydride. It was first isolated in 1890 by Theodor Curtius. The acid has few applications, but its conjugate base, the azide ion, is useful in specialized processes.

<i>tert</i>-Butyl alcohol chemical compound

tert-Butyl alcohol (TBA), also called tert-butanol or t-butanol, is the simplest tertiary alcohol, with a formula of (CH3)3COH (sometimes represented as t-BuOH). It is one of the four isomers of butanol. tert-Butyl alcohol is a colorless solid, which melts near room temperature and has a camphor-like odor. It is miscible with water, ethanol and diethyl ether.

Lithium hydride chemical compound

Lithium hydride is an inorganic compound with the formula LiH. This alkali metal hydride is a colorless solid, although commercial samples are grey. Characteristic of a salt-like (ionic) hydride, it has a high melting point, and it is not soluble but reactive with all organic and protic solvents. It is soluble and nonreactive with certain molten salts such as lithium fluoride, lithium borohydride, and sodium hydride. With a molecular mass of slightly less than 8.0, it is the lightest ionic compound.

Potassium hydride inorganic compound of potassium and hydride

Potassium hydride, KH, is the inorganic compound of potassium and hydrogen. It is an alkali metal hydride. It is a white solid, although commercial samples appear gray. A powerful base that is useful in organic synthesis, it is also a dangerously reactive compound. For this reason it is sold commercially as a slurry (~35%) in mineral oil or sometimes paraffin wax to facilitate dispensing.

Compounds of oxygen any chemical compound having at least one oxygen atom

The oxidation state of oxygen is −2 in almost all known compounds of oxygen. The oxidation state −1 is found in a few compounds such as peroxides. Compounds containing oxygen in other oxidation states are very uncommon: −​12 (superoxides), −​13 (ozonides), 0, +​12 (dioxygenyl), +1, and +2.

Sodium aluminium hydride chemical compound

Sodium aluminium hydride or sodium alanate is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula NaAlH4. It is a white pyrophoric solid that dissolves in tetrahydrofuran (THF), but not in diethyl ether or hydrocarbons. It has been evaluated as an agent for the reversible storage of hydrogen and it is used as a reagent for the chemical synthesis of organic compounds. Similar to lithium aluminium hydride, it is a salt consisting of separated sodium cations and tetrahedral AlH


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