Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!
Print

Science

Construction materials

Reactions of calcium carbonate

Limestone and marble are mostly calcium carbonate. This breaks down when heated strongly. The reaction is called thermal decomposition. Here are the equations for the thermal decomposition of calcium carbonate:

calcium carbonate right facing arrow with heat calcium oxide + carbon dioxide

CaCO3right facing arrow with heat CaO + CO2

Other metal carbonates decompose in the same way. For example, here are the equations for the thermal decomposition of copper(II) carbonate:

copper(II) carbonate right facing arrow with heat copper(II) oxide + carbon dioxide

CuCO3right facing arrow with heat CuO + CO2

Copper(II) carbonate is often used at school to show thermal decomposition. It is easily decomposed and its colour change, from green copper(II) carbonate to black copper(II) oxide, is easy to see.

Copper carbonate + heat -> Copper oxide + Carbon dioxide

The thermal decomposition of copper(II) carbonate is easily demonstrated

Back to Chemical resources index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.