3 Major Uses of Limestone
Limestone is a common sedimentary rock with many industrial uses. Millions of years ago, each block of limestone was created as thousands of marine animal skeleton fragments built up in layers that were compressed over time. These skeleton fragments contain calcium and silica, which make up the bulk of the structure of the limestone. Today, limestone blocks can be used as they are for construction projects, and powdered limestone can be used to create concrete and lime for use on construction sites. Here are three of the major uses of limestone for construction projects today.
1. Building Construction
Limestone is a traditional building material with many uses. As a sedimentary rock, it is relatively soft, which makes it the perfect medium for shaping into blocks and carving. If you see large stone blocks on the outside of large buildings, those blocks are almost certainly limestone. Today, limestone is often used to create beautiful facades on the outside of framed buildings. These facades protect the interior structure of buildings from water damage and give them old-world elegance. Occasionally, limestone blocks are still used in the structure of some buildings, but they are likely reinforced with steel rods that provide some earthquake protection.
2. Lime Production
Much of the limestone that is used in construction today has been turned into lime. To turn limestone into lime, it is placed into a lime kiln and heated above 825 degrees C. This process creates a substance called calcium oxide or quicklime, which has a wide range of uses. On construction sites, quicklime can be used to strengthen soils with high volumes of clay. Workers mix the quicklime into the soil, where it reacts with silica and alumina in the soil to create a strong, cement-like soil that can support the weight of a tall structure. Quicklime is also a major component of plaster, which is used to texturize or decorate walls.
3. Cement Production
Limestone is also used to create cement. To do so, technicians mix limestone dust with clay and proprietary materials and heat the mixture to 1450 degrees C in a kiln. This changes the limestone into quicklime while it is already mixed into the cement powder. Workers combine the heated product with gypsum to create portland cement. From there, other additives, such as fly ash, coloring agents, and waterproofing agents can be added to create a wide variety of cement products. Some cement varieties can be used to create concrete when mixed with aggregates. Cement is used to bind building materials like bricks together, and concrete is used to create structures.
If you'd like to use limestone to enhance your property, contact companies like Small's Sand Gravel Inc.