What Is Quick Lime? Types, Properties, And Uses

What Is Quick Lime Types

Quick Lime (CaO) or calcium oxide, is a white or gray powder material that is applied for industries such as industrial and environmental applications. Quicklime has various grades that are applied for differing applications.

In this article, we are going to take a further look at what is quicklime, its properties, its applications or uses, its types or grades its importance of it, and its safety.

What Is Quick Lime?

Quick Lime (CaO), also known as calcium oxide, is a white or gray powder made by heating limestone in a kiln to temperatures above 900°C. a quick lime chemical is highly reactive with water and forms calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) when mixed with water.

The quick lime powder has various applications, including construction, environmental, agriculture, steel making, pulp and paper production, and chemical production. It is an important material in many industrial processes due to its chemical and physical properties, such as its high reactivity, high heat capacity, and low melting point.

Properties of Lime

Quick Lime (CaO) has the following properties:

  1. Chemical composition: quick lime’s chemical name is calcium oxide.
  2. Chemical formula: Quick lime formula is CaO
  3. Physical appearance: White or gray powder, with a granular texture.
  4. Reactivity: Highly reactive with water and forms calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) when mixed with water.
  5. Melting point: 2572°C
  6. Boiling point: 2850°C
  7. Density: 3.34 g/cm³
  8. Solubility: Insoluble in water, but reacts readily with water to form calcium hydroxide.
  9. PH: Basic, with a pH of 12.4 in a 10% solution.
  10. Heat capacity: High heat capacity, with a specific heat of 0.21 J/g°C. 

These properties of quick lime powder make quicklime a versatile material for various industrial and environmental applications.

Uses of Quick Lime

Below is common quicklime uses:

  1. Construction: Used as a component in cement and mortar, and to produce lime plaster.
  2. Environmental: Used in wastewater treatment and flue gas desulfurization to remove impurities.
  3. Agriculture: Used to adjust soil pH and improve soil fertility.
  4. Steel making: use as a flux to clean impurities throughout the iron and steel production process.
  5. Pulp and paper production: Used in the production of pulp and paper to remove impurities.
  6. Chemical production: Used as a raw material in the production of calcium salts and other chemicals 

As each grade is applied for different applications, it would be good to consult with chemical suppliers or quick lime manufacturers to understand which grade is best applied for a certain application.

What are the Types of Quick Lime

There are two main types of quicklime (CaO) which are High calcium and dolomitic quicklime formula. While other grades that are available are specialties, hydrated, and powdered. Below are further explanations.

  1. High calcium quicklime: Over 90% pure calcium oxide, used in construction, environmental remediation, and agriculture.
  2. Dolomitic quicklime: Lower calcium oxide content (40-50%) with magnesium oxide, used in steelmaking and chemical production.
  3. Specialty quicklime: Custom-made quicklime with specific chemical and physical properties for specific applications, such as low reactivity or high surface area.
  4. Hydrated quicklime / hydrated lime: Quicklime that has been hydrated (mixed with water) to form calcium hydroxide, is used in wastewater treatment and other applications. This can also be called hydrated lime.
  5. Powdered quicklime: Quicklime that has been ground into a fine powder, used in industrial processes and as a filler in various products.
  6. Calcium carbonate lime: a derivative of quicklime.

Additionally, quicklime can be classified based on particle size, purity, and reactivity, with each type having specific applications and uses. Therefore, users may need to understand which grade is suitable for their application, as quicklime uses varying as per grade. Consulting with quick lime suppliers would be one of the best options to understand which grade is suitable for user application for the end product.

Quick lime suppliers can be found through chemical suppliers and quick lime manufacturers.

Why is Quick Lime Important 

Quick lime is important as it has been applied to various industries such as Construction, Environmental, Agriculture, Chemical production, Steelmaking, Pulp and paper production with each suitable grade. Had these industries are not applying quicklime, the desired end product would not be optimal as quicklime applied.

Benefits of Quicklime

Quicklime is beneficial due to its high reactivity, versatility, environmental benefits

  • High reactivity: Quicklime is highly reactive and can be used in a wide range of industrial processes to remove impurities.
  • Environmental remediation: Quicklime is used in environmental remediation processes, such as wastewater treatment and flue gas desulfurization, to improve air and water quality.
  • Soil improvement: Quicklime is used in agriculture to adjust soil pH and improve soil fertility.
  • Versatility: Quicklime can be modified to meet specific requirements in various applications, such as low reactivity, high surface area, or custom chemical composition.
  • Economic significance: Quicklime is an essential material for many industries, and its production and use contribute to the economy.

Is it safe to use?

The powder can be harmful to humans and the environment if it isn’t handled properly. Quicklime can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin when touched or inhaled in large quantities over time. This is caused by its dangerous chemical properties such as

  • Corrosive: Quicklime will corrode concrete and metal surfaces when they come into contact with each other over time
  • Flammable: If you find yourself near an open container of quicklime dust or powder that has been spilled onto flammable materials such as wood chips or sawdust, avoid breathing deeply while moving away from this area

Therefore, Quicklime has many hazards that must be identified and controlled in order to use this product safely.

Final Thoughts 

We can conclude that quicklime has various grades and applications for certain industries or applications. It would be important for users to understand their desired end result of applying quicklime. By doing this, the user might be able to define the suitable grade for the end result of the product. One of the ways is to consult with the right chemical suppliers, distributors, or manufacturers.

As quick lime has hazards, it is important to understand the handling of this material as it’s corrosive and flammable.

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