Calcium Carbonate/Limestone as Civil Engineering Constructions Material

Articles > Calcium Carbonate/Limestone as Civil Engineering Constructions Material

Calcium Carbonate/ Limestone:

Calcium Carbonate/ Limestone:

The common name of calcium carbonate is Lime Stone. Limestone is a white-colored sedimentary rock, which is found almost all over the world. The chemical name of the limestone is Calcium Carbonate with the chemical formula CaCO3. Limestone because of its being non-crystalline, can easily be cut and shaped. It has been used as a construction material since the dawn of human history. Many buildings in Ontario, Canada are built from limestone, and still being constructed. Due to the common use of limestone in construction, Ontario is known as the Limestone City. Construction with limestone is also very common in Kingston. The Maya-Civilization (Today’s Mexico), which is 200-100 BCE, was almost built upon limestone. Many archaeological sites like the Egyptian Great Pyramids, Courthouse of the Riley-County of Kansas (USA), ancient American Sculptures, and Megalithic-Temple of Malta, which is made up of limestone, are still existing as a live example of usage of limestone. In civil engineering the use of limestone as a fundamental substance is inevitable. What the uses of limestone in civil engineering work/ construction are, are explained in this article:

Calcium Carbonate (Limestone) as Bricks:

As the stone of Calcium Carbonate is not hard rock. It is a soft fine-grained rock that is why, it can easily be cut, broken, and be shaped as desired. The flat blocks of the limestone are excavated from a limestone quarry, can be made according to the desired shape and size. Limestone bricks/blocks can be easily places because of their lightweight and can easily be cemented. As limestone bricks are cut from the natural limestone rock, therefore, it lasts for several years without any erosion or cracks. Use of limestone in the driveway, retaining wall, foundations of the building, and basement, the constructor may be confident that replacement costs will be minimal.

Calcium Carbonate (Limestone) in Cement:

A large portion of the cement composition is composed of Limestone. Manufacturing of any types of cement without the use of limestone is almost impossible. The presence of limestone gives satisfactory concrete strength, durability, and workability. Limestone is added with clay and heated in the kiln to produce clinker. The clinker is then ground finely with material like gypsum. Limestone is added to the cement because, when mortar or concrete is prepared, the presence of limestone makes the cement to react with water and produce an adhesive property in the cement. Almost in the construction standards of all the countries of the world, the addition of limestone is allowed in the preparation of cement. It improves the compacting, hardening, and adhesive quality of the cement.

Limestone in the decoration of Buildings:

Apart from being used in the construction material of the building structure, limestone is widely used as a decorative material for the buildings. The white color of the limestone is fascinating, thus it is used in whitewash and painting of houses and buildings.

Other Uses of Calcium Carbonate (Limestone):

  1. It is used as the basic raw material for the manufacturing of calcium oxide (quicklime), calcium hydroxide (slake lime), mortar, and cement.
  2. A type of limestone known as pulverized limestone, which is used as a soil conditioner. It neutralizes the acidic nature of the soil.
  3. Limestone can be crushed in small coarse, pebbles, and gravels to make aggregate.
  4. It can be used as asphalt concrete.
  5. Most of the petroleum reservoirs are found under the beds of limestone rocks.
  6. Limestone can be used in the manufacturing of glass.
  7. Manufacturing of paper, plastic, toothpaste, tiles, and other construction material limestone is used.
  8. Limestone stone is used in filling the gaps of pavers.

Distinctive Qualities of Limestone which makes it to be used in Construction:

Quarry-cut of Limestone bricks/blocks:

The bricks of the limestone need not be made from the powder limestone. The bricks of the required size and shape can easily be cut from the quarry. The quarry cut of limestone blocks and bricks costs very low as compared to the other type of construction material, like kiln bricks, concrete bricks, and others.

Strength and durability of Limestone:

As the blocks of limestone are cut from a natural source, therefore, their durability and strength are higher than other artificially made bricks. Constructors prefer limestone brick on other types of bricks and blocks.

Readily Availability of Limestone deposits:

Almost in all the countries of the world, huge deposits of limestone are available. The ready availability of limestone makes its use very economical. Its excavation is also very easy. The layers of sedimentary limestone are easily dismantled and separated from the quarry.

Limestone in Variety of Sizes:

Common brick is available in one uniform size and shape. The masons have to break the bricks in the desired size and shape. As the layers of limestone sedimentary rocks are of different thickness. As each layer has its own different thickness, therefore, the blocks and bricks separated are of different thickness and sizes. The variation of sizes and thickness makes it convenient to work with while construction.

Limestone is Weather Resistant:

The limestone bricks are weather resistant. It is resistant to sulfate attack and other chemical attacks. The rapid fall and increase in temperature in days and nights also seldom influence surface stability. Unlike other types of bricks, the limestone bricks are not eroded with rainfall and waterlogged areas.

Less Expensive than Other Stones:

With the ready availability of the limestone in almost all regions of all countries of the world, the cost of limestone is low. The excavation cost is also low. It has not processed cost unlike other types of minerals. The cutting and finishing of the limestone bricks and blocks are also very easy. A mason can cut it with one hammer stroke, according to the desired size and shape.

Limestone is Bad Conductor of Heat:

Almost all the rocks of white color are bad conductor of heat. Limestone because of its being non-crystalline and white in color makes it a poor conductor to the heat. In the warmer regions of the country, limestone brick is a bad conductor of heat. This means that homes that are built with limestone bricks will have a much cooler interior. It is a natural way to keep a home cool without resorting to air conditioning.

Limestone Holds Paint Well:

The natural colors of limestone bricks are quite nice, but there are times when a homeowner will want to paint over the bricks themselves. Limestone, while it does soak up the first coat, will hold paint well for many years. There is less maintenance to the paint with limestone bricks than other types of building materials. Bright colors look the best as it still shows off the grain and texture.

Easy to work with Limestone:

For a do it yourself homeowner who is looking to lay a patio with limestone bricks, or side their home with limestone veneer, or is looking at a limestone driveway, the bricks are very easy to install. While the brick is incredibly hard and durable, it is also easy to work with, cut, and install.


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