Calcium fluoride, also known as fluorspar, usually comes in the form of a white crystalline solid with a chemical formula of CaF2. It occurs naturally within the mineral fluorite which is usually of a different color due to impurities.
Calcium fluoride has many uses, including manufacturing of optical components and thermal imaging system. It is also used in the metallurgy industry, in the production of aluminium from bauxite. It is also used in the chemical industry in the production of organic and non-organic fluorine compound.
High purity calcium fluoride can be produced by reacting hydrofluoric acid with calcium carbonate.
Calcium fluoride can be obtained from fluorite, the mineral containing calcium fluoride. The mineral would be subjected to a series of processes such as crushing, grinding, conditioning, floatation, thickening, filtering and drying in order to obtain high purity calcium fluoride, which can be used in the production of hydrofluoric acid.
Calcium fluoride is used in optical components such as lenses, prisms and mirror substrates due to its high transmission as well as being physically stable and chemically inert, making it suitable for UV and IR application.
Calcium Fluoride also has high laser damage threshold, low axial and radial stress birefringence, making it an excellent material for laser optics.
Calcium fluoride is used in metallurgy as a flux to make slag which is made up of impurities to be more liquid to make removal easier. This application is used in steel and aluminium extraction.
Calcium fluoride is used to make hydrofluoric acid. By reacting with concentrated sulfuric acid, hydrofluoric acid would be produced. This is a major uses of calcium fluoride, consuming over a million tons annually and accounts for over 95% of all US consumption.