Meaning of Quicklime
Quicklime, more formally known as calcium oxide (CaO), is a caustic alkaline substance produced by heating limestone in specially designed kilns.
There is a wide range of uses for this substance, ranging from mortar to flux, and it has been used by humans for centuries. It is produced and sold by many companies, sometimes with specific chemical impurities that make it especially suitable for certain applications.
Quicklime was used in Mesoamerica to treat corn.
Humans have been aware of the steps involved in creating quicklime for a long time, and chemists believe its generation may be one of the oldest chemical reactions known to man.
Without a doubt, people have been using the material all over the world for thousands of years; in Mesoamerica, for example, people treated corn with it in a process known as nixtamalization, while in India, it was used in a mixture designed to waterproof ships.
Today, quicklime is used in many industrial processes, some of which were developed hundreds of years ago.
Quicklime was used in India to waterproof ships.
Quicklime is also known as burnt lime, referring to its manufacturing process, or simply lime. To make it, limestone (CaCO3) is broken up and shoveled into a kiln, which is heated to very high temperatures.
High temperatures release carbon dioxide (CO2) from the stone, turning it into calcium oxide. After it cools, the compound can be ground into a powder and packaged for sale.
Numerous things can impact the quality of the resulting material, from the temperature of the kilns to natural impurities in the stone.
Because limestone is a natural product, it can sometimes be difficult to control these impurities; As a result, companies that produce quicklime tend to test their product regularly to ensure it is of high quality.
Specialized kilns are also closely watched to ensure the limestone is heated and cooled at the proper rate.
Quicklime requires careful handling. When it settles, it can acquire carbon dioxide from the air, returning to its original form. This means that it must be used quickly, especially once it has been mixed with water in a process known as slaking.
Lime is also extremely caustic; can burn skin and cause other damage. When used responsibly, it can be immensely useful for things like mixing strong mortar, acting as a flux in foundries, and treating wastewater.
Quicklime is commonly used to make mortar, which is then used in a variety of construction projects.