A hydrated crystalline calcium carbonate phase: Calcium carbonate hemihydrate

Science. 2019 Jan 25;363(6425):396-400. doi: 10.1126/science.aav0210.


As one of the most abundant materials in the world, calcium carbonate, CaCO3, is the main constituent of the skeletons and shells of various marine organisms. It is used in the cement industry and plays a crucial role in the global carbon cycle and formation of sedimentary rocks. For more than a century, only three polymorphs of pure CaCO3-calcite, aragonite, and vaterite-were known to exist at ambient conditions, as well as two hydrated crystal phases, monohydrocalcite (CaCO3·1H2O) and ikaite (CaCO3·6H2O). While investigating the role of magnesium ions in crystallization pathways of amorphous calcium carbonate, we unexpectedly discovered an unknown crystalline phase, hemihydrate CaCO3·½H2O, with monoclinic structure. This discovery may have important implications in biomineralization, geology, and industrial processes based on hydration of CaCO3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't