There’s a water cooler in my work’s break room/kitchen. I noticed an ingredient label on the side of it this morning as I was refilling my Nalgene. Ingredients? For water? Let me check this out. So I used the faithful Wikipedia, and here’s what I learned.
As a firming agent calcium chloride is used in canned vegetables, in firming soy bean curds into tofu and in producing a caviar substitute from vegetable or fruit juices. It is commonly used as an electrolyte in sports drinks and other beverages including Smartwater and Nestle bottled water. The extremely salty taste of calcium chloride is used to flavor pickles while not increasing the food’s sodium content. Calcium chloride’s freezing-point depression properties are used, for example, in Cadbury Caramilk chocolate bars to slow the freezing of the caramel.
Calcium chloride is used in concrete mixes to help speed up the initial setting, but chloride ion leads to corrosion of steel rebar, so it should not be used in reinforced concrete. The anhydrous form of calcium chloride may also be used for this purpose and can provide a measure of the moisture in concrete.
Calcium chloride is included as an additive in plastics and in fire extinguishers, in wastewater treatment as a drainage aid, in blast furnaces as an additive to control scaffolding (clumping and adhesion of materials that prevent the furnace charge from descending), and in fabric softener as a thinner.
The exothermic dissolution of calcium chloride is used in self-heating cans and heating pads.
In the oil industry calcium chloride is use to increase the density of solids free brines. It is also used to provide inhibition of swelling clays in the water phase of invert emulsion drilling fluids.
Hooray, what flavors my pickles also hardens the cement under my feet. Ew.