Calcium Carbonate Precipitation: A Review of the Carbonate Crystallization Process and Applications in Bioinspired Composites
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Recently, bioinspired materials have received particular interest for their unique properties and applications as well as their non-toxicity, which make them a target for intensive research. The principal interest of this review lies on the study of calcium carbonate and its polymorphs and how they interact with different substrates, in general, and with biopolymers, in particular. This review hinges on the synthesis of calcium carbonate particles (aragonite, calcite and vaterite phases) using methodologies such as: gaseous diffusion and reactants mixing. The synthesis of the particles involves some variables which play a decisive role in the formation of calcium carbonate particles. Some of those variables include pH, temperature, concentration of solutions, concentration of additives, type of additives (organic or inorganic) and the substrate surface roughness. All of them are fundamental in the precipitation of the crystals, motivating scientists to focus more on the study of the additives on the precipitation of the crystals. Some widely used additives such as poly(acrylic acid), polyacrylamide and poly(vinyl alcohol) are discussed. Furthermore, since CaCO3 precipitation can occur on biopolymers or other organic substrates, these biopolymers have been used to create organic-inorganic compounds exhibiting unique properties also discussed in this review. Emphasis on abundant biopolymers such as chitin, chitosan and cellulose is provided in this review and aims at bettering the understanding of potential applications of those organic-inorganic composites. Processes involving calcium carbonate precipitation are also explained in detail as well as how the previous variables play a pivotal role in the resulting compound.