The geographical part of the world consists of different types of rocks, which have found profound uses in human life. An example of such rocks is the limestone. The limestone rock falls under the category of sedimentary rocks, with its main composition being calcium carbonate element. It is mostly found in warm and shallow marine water bodies. This calcium carbonate (CaCO3) rock makes a major part of human life.
Uses of Limestone
The following are 25 most common uses of limestone;
1.) Construction and Architecture
This is the most common use of limestone. After quarrying, the limestone is sliced into slabs or blocks of predetermined sizes. These slabs and blocks can then be used for the construction of things such as sculptures, tiles, pyramids, or even stair treads.
Limestone is made up of calcium carbonate compounds. Calcium carbonate is an essential compound in the manufacture of agricultural lime, also known as ‘Aglime.’ This agricultural lime is used in the neutralization of soil acidity. ‘Aglime’ also frees us important soil minerals, such as different types of phosphates.
3.) Steel Industry
Limestone is greatly used in the steel industry, specifically in the production process. In this process, limestone is used for absorbing, and hence removing, impurities in the steel metals.
4.) Sewage Disposal System
When limestone is grounded, it forms small filter stones that have cleansing and purifying properties. These filter stones can be used in sewage systems to filter and treat wastewater. Also, lime, made from limestone, can be used for neutralizing acids and treating contaminated water supplies.
5.) Industrial Fillers
Crushing limestone results in the production of small-sized fine powders. These powders can be used as fillers in manufactured products. Industries that use limestone fillers in their products include the paint, carpet, rubber, and plastic industries.
6.) Roofing Granules
Asphalt roofing shingles are best known for their good quality and high resistance to heat and harsh weather conditions. Their high resistance quality is because their surface coating is made using crushed limestone.
7.) Flux Stone
Limestone that has been crushed can be used to refine and smelt metals. When used for smelting, the calcium carbonate rock reacts with impurities in the metal, combining with them, and the combination removed in the form of slag.
8.) Portland Cement
Limestone is also used to manufacture cement, which is used for the construction of houses. To produce cement, the rock is combined with other materials, such as sand, after which the mixture is put in a kiln and heated.
9.) Animal Supplements
If hens are to lays eggs with strong shells, they need to take in enough calcium carbonate. Limestone is used to manufacture supplements for chickens, rich in calcium carbonate. These supplements (chicken grits) can also be given to dairy cows to boost their calcium levels.
10.) Mine Safety Dust
Mine safety dust is commonly referred to as ‘rock dust.’ It is usually white and is available in powder form. This dust is used to spray coal surfaces that have been exposed, improving illumination in the process, and reducing the levels of coal dust released into the air. Pulverized limestone is used for manufacturing this essential powder dust.
11.) Garden Lawns
If you own a lawn and wish to increase the soil’s bacterial activity, then you would do well to use pulverized limestone. This limestone promotes the breakdown of compost manure and organic matter, which in turn improves the soil porosity and boosts the circulation and absorption system of the soil. The result is a good soil structure for your lawn.
12.) Maintaining Golf Grounds
Golf grounds are designed with special kinds of putting grass, which require careful and proper management. These kinds of putting grass only survive at specific soil pH levels. Applying lime on these types of soil helps to maintain the ideal pH levels, hence, maintaining the golf grounds in the long run.
13.) Healthier and Happier Horses
During the winter, horse owners tend to keep the barns closed, to keep their horses warm. Closing barns reduces their ventilation and could lead to increased levels of ammonia in horses. Placing lime in the barns helps to absorb the ammonia, keeping the horses healthy.
14.) Cat Litter
Cat’s urine has some amounts of ammonia. When the cat is exposed to ammonia, even smaller amounts, it can cause breathing problems in the long run. Limestone is, therefore, used as a component of cat litter to absorb the harmful ammonia released and keep the cat healthy.
15.) Road and Railway Construction
Crushed limestone is used in the manufacturer of asphalt, which is used as a coating for roads. It is also used to construct a solid base of roads and railways.
16.) Making of Toothpaste
Limestone is used in the manufacturer of toothpaste. It has two main functions in a toothpaste; to work as a white pigment and a filler.
17.) Making of Carvings
Calcium carbonate present in limestone is a soft compound. Its soft nature gives its application in the making of beautiful carvings and statues. Furthermore, limestone is resistant to acidity, so using it to make statues ensures that these remain highly durable for a long time.
18.) Manufacture of Quicklime
Limestone is used as a major raw material for manufacturing calcium oxide, also known as quicklime. Quicklime is used in the making of grass and porcelain. It can also be used for purification purposes.
19.) Petroleum Reservoirs
Limestone formations have recorded the best results when used as petroleum reservoirs. These geological features store petroleum very well.
20.) Controlling Air Pollution
Limestone is used as one of the reagents in the desulfurization process. In this process, the limestone reacts with sulfur dioxide in the air. Since sulfur dioxide causes air pollution, its reaction with limestone helps to minimize air pollution.
21.) Coal Mines
Explosions caused by released methane gas are a common feature on coal mines. Limestone causes suppression of these explosions, hence, keeping the coal mines secure for quarrying.
22.) Food industry
Limestone is a major source of calcium. In the food industry, the calcium component in the rock is tapped and purified. The purified calcium is then included in bread and cereals.
23.) Preventing Pipe Corrosion
Limestone is usually added to pipes carrying purified water. The limestone works to increase the alkaline levels of these pure waters, at the same time restoring the essential mineral levels. This helps to protect the pipes from corroding.
24.) Protecting Lakes
Man-made freshwater lakes tend to be vulnerable to acidic rains. To protect them, limestone is added to these waters. The limestone serves the purpose of a pH buffering agent.
25.) Blast Furnace
Limestone is used in the blasting of iron furnaces. In this process, the calcium carbonate is bound to the silica component, and to other impurities, which can then be removed from the iron metal.
When most people hear of limestone, they think of cement and buildings. However, this article has helped you broaden your knowledge of the various uses of limestone. It is not just a stone used as a building material; it is a building component for many other important products.