You are on page 1of 9


(Properties and uses)

Lime is on important building material, has been in use since ancient times. Lime
had been used as an important cementing material for plastering mortar and
concrete work and also for many manufacturing processes.
Properties of lime: The following properties have made lime, an important Engg.
1. It has good plastic properties
2. It gives strength to the masonry, when used as mortar.
3. It stiffens quite easily in a short time.
4. It is easily workable.
5. It has good adhering properties with stone and bricks both.
6. Its shrinkage in comparatively low and hence masonry in lime mortar in more
7. It can withstand moisture easily.
Uses of Lime: Lime can be used for following purposes.
1. As a binding material in mortar.
2. As a binding material in concrete.
3. As an aggregate in form of crushed lime stone.
4. For plastering
5. White washing and also as a base coat for distemper.
6. Used for lime sand bricks.
7. Used as fluxing material in many manufacturing processes.
8. It may be used for masonry work in the form of lime stone.
9. It is also used as component of refractory clay.
10.It is used for soil stabilization.
11.It is used for improving soils for agriculture purposes.
12.It is used for water purification and sewage treatment works.
13.When used in combination with cement, its properties are modified and lot of
cement can be saved.
14.It is used even in points.
15.It is used for the manufactures of glass.
Sources of Lime: Lime does not occur is nature in Free State. It is obtained from
Lime stone, chalk, Kanker etc, which are the usual raw materials from which lime is
obtained. All the materials containing calcareous substances, have calcium
carbonate (CaCo3) as the chief constituent. When calcareous materials are heated,
carbon dioxide and moisture are driven out, leaving behind calcium oxide (CaO),
which is called lime.
Some Imp terms and definitions:
Calcium: It is the process of heating the limestone to redness in the presence of
atmospheric air. During calcinations, Co2 is driven out and calcium oxide is left as
final product.
Lime: when Co2 is driven out from limestone, the resulting product is lime.
Quick Lime: The lime obtained from the calcinations of pure lime stone is called
quick lime.
Settling of Lime: When lime converted into paste form is exposed to atmosphere,
it gradually hardens. This process of slow hardening of lime is called setting of lime.

This is different than drying in which evaporation of water takes place. In the case of
hardening, chemical action takes place.
Slaking: Quick lime has large affinity for moisture. Adding water in sufficient
quantity to quick lime in known as slaking. When water is added to quick lime, it
swells and cracks. Lot of heat in also generated and the lime gets converted into
hydrated lime or calcium hydrate (Ca (OH)2)
CaO + H 2O
Slaked Lime: The product, obtained after slaking quick lime is called slaked lime or
hydrated lime. During slaking lot of heat is generated with hissing sound. Quick lime
requires about 32% of water by volume. But due to various factors like method of
slaking, degree of burning, composition of lime etc, water required for slaking is
taken about 2 to 3 times the volume of the quick lime. Rate of slaking is affected by
the size of burnt lime lumps and temp of atmosphere. Slaking can be done with
steam very speedily, under increased pressure in closed drums. Hydrated lime
obtained in the form of powder is available in the market is packed bags. When
sand and water are added to this, we get lime mortar. The slaked lime should be
used fresh, because it has the tendency to absorb Carbonic acid from the
atmosphere in the presence of moisture. This leads to formation of carbonates of
lime as follow:
H 2CO3
H2O + CO2
Ca (OH) 2 + CO2
CaCO3 + H2O
The slaked lime thus gets converted into carbonate of lime and such slaked lime
becomes useless, as it loses setting property. Therefore the slaked lime should not
be kept in a damp place.
Hydraulicity: It is the property due to which lime sets in damp places.
Varieties of Lime:
Depending upon the sources, lime may be of the following 3 varieties.
1. Stone Lime It is almost pure lime
2. Kankar Lime It is impure or adulterated
3. Shell Lime It is purest form of lime.
Classification of Lime:
Lime may be classified in to following 3 categories.
1. Fat Lime 2. Hydraulic Lime 3. Poor Lime
1. Fat Lime: This lime is known as fat lime, because it increases 2 to 2.5 times in
volume, when slaked. This lime is obtained by burning comparatively pure lime
stone. This lime is also called pure lime, white lime, rich lime or high calcium lime.
The lime stone from which this lime is obtained, should contain about 95% calcium
oxide and other 5% impurities. When the lime stone containing calcium carbonate is
burnt in atmosphere, carbon oxide is driven out, leaving behind Calcium oxide
known as quick lime. Fat lime is obtained by slaking quick lime.
Setting of this lime entirely depends on atmospheric oxygen. For setting this lime
absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. After chemical reaction, this lime gets
converted into CaCO3 which is a hard substance and insoluble in water. This reaction
is called setting of fat lime.

The important properties of fat lime are:

1. Its hardening action is slow.
2. It setting action is also slow.
3. It slakes vigorously with hissing sound and lot of heat is generated.
4. It swells 2 to 2.5 times of quick lime after slaking.
5. It has very high degree of plasticity.
6. It is soluble in water.
7. It is milky white in its purest form.
Uses: As the setting depends upon atmospheric air, it should not be used at
interiors, where approach of air is difficult. It may be used for following purposes.
1. For white washing
2. For plastering
3. Its mortar with sand may be used for this masonry works.
4. Its mortar with surkhi develops good setting and hydraulic properties. Such
mortar can be used for thick masonry works, foundations etc.
2. Hydraulic Lime: This lime has the property of setting under water. It is
obtained by burning lime stone containing lot of clay and other substances
that develop hydraulicity. Hydraulicity of this lime depends upon the clay and
the type of clay present in it. Silica, alumina and or iron are present in
chemical combination with calcium oxide. Depending upon the amount of
clay (Silica and Alumina) present, hydraulic lime may be further divided in to
the following 3 categories.
a) Feebly Hydraulic Lime: It contains silica, alumina and or iron oxide less
than 15%. The usual %ages of these constituents varies between 5 to
10%. On slaking it increases in volume by a very small amount. It slacks
slowly. This may be used in the form of mortar with sand in Not very
important works
b) Moderately Hydraulic Lime: This lime contain about 15 to 25% of silica
and alumina. It slacks very slowly and increases by very small amount on
slacking. This lime provides a very good mortar with sand. It is mostly
used as mortar in good type of masonry works.
c) Eminently Hydraulic lime: This lime is of even better quality than
moderately hydraulic lime. It contains 25 to 30% clayey (Silica and
alumina) ingredients. It resembles very much to Portland cement in
chemical composition. Slacking of this lime is hardly noticeable. Its initial
setting stats after 2 hours and the final setting within 48 hours. This lime
in mostly used for structural purposes and for works carried out under
Properties of Hydraulic Lime can be summarized as follows:
a) Increased %age of clay renders lime more hydraulic and makes slaking
more difficult.
b) With 30% clay content, its chemical composition resembles more or less
to cement.
c) It can set under water

d) It can set under situations where free air cannot reach. This is because
setting action of this lime does not depend on the atmospheric air.
e) This Lime is not perfectly white and appears less sanitary than fat lime.
f) It is not soluble in water, but forms a thin plastic paste with water.
g) This lime should be finely ground before mixing with sand and used for
plastering work. If not some of the thick particles of lime may slake even
after a month (Slow slaking action) and may spoil the plastered surface
after words. This action is called blistering. It is good, if mortar prepared
from this lime are kept heaped up for a weak before use.
3. Poor Lime: This lime contains more than 30% of clay. It slakes very slowly
and is insoluble in water. It forms a plastic paste with water. This lime is also
called as Lean lime or impure lime. This lime hardens and sets very slowly.
This lime form very week mortar and used for interior works only.
Comparison between fat lime and hydraulic lime
1. Compositi

Fat Lime
It is obtained from pure lime stone in
which other impurities dont exceed

2. Colour

It is milky white when burnt or

calcined without allowing it to come
in contact with fuels such as coal

3. Slaking

It slakes vigorously with hissing

sound and lot of heat is generated
and volume increases by 2 to 2.5

4. Setting

1. It sets only in the presence of air.

2.It absorbs Co2 from air and form

5. Hydraulici

It does not possess any hydraulic

property and does not set under
It does not have much strength and
hence not used where strength is

6. Strength

Hydraulic Lime
It is obtained from Kankar
and other lime stones
containing 5-30% of clay
amount of ferrous oxide.
Its colour is not white
because of presence of
silica, alumina and iron
Slaking action is slow
contents and no sound
and heat is generated or
there will be no increase
in volume.
1. It sets under water.
2. It combines with water
aluminate and Di-calcium
property and sets under
It is strong and can be
used where strength is

7. Uses

8. Shrinkage

It is mainly used for white washing

and for mortar with Surkhi and sand.

1. It shrinks lot on drying

2. Sand equal/two/three times of
its volume is added to it.

1. It is used as mortar for

thick walls and can be
also used for plastering
2. One has to be careful
against blistering action.
It shrinks very small and
quantity of sand.

Classification of Lime according to I.S.

According to I.S., 712-1984, Lime has been classifies into following categories.
CLASS A : It is hydraulic lime which is mostly used for construction works and is
nothing but eminently hydraulic lime.
CLASS B: It is semi hydraulic lime which can be used as mortar in masonry works.
CLASS C: It is fat lime, which can be used for plastering or white washing.
CLASS D: It is magnesium lime used for finishing coat in plastering/white washing.
CLASS E: It is Kankar lime which can be used for under coat and finishing coat of
plaster. It is to be supplied in hydrated or quick lime form.
1. Class A and E lime are always available in the form of hydrated lime.
2. Class B, C and D lime may be available in the form of quick lime or hydrated
As per I.S., the following are the definitions:
1. Quick Lime: The calcined materials and major part of which is Cao in natural
association with a relatively smaller amount magnesium oxide and capable of
slaking with water.
2. Hydraulic Lime: Lime containing small quantities of silica and almumina and
or iron oxide which are in chemical combination with some of the Cao content
giving a putty or mortar and has property to set under water.
3. Hydrated Lime: A dry powder obtained on treating quick lime with sufficient
water to satisfy chemical affinity for water.
4. Milk of Lime: A thin pourable suspension of slaked lime in water.
5. Lump Lime: Quick lime as it comes from kilns.
6. Cementation value:
C.V = 2.8A + 1.1B + 0.7C
1.0D + 1.4E
% age of silica
%age of Alumina oxide
% age of iron
%age of Cao
%age of magnesium

Comp Strength:
Class A -- Lime after 14 days > 17.5 kgs/cm 2
28 days > 28 kgs/cm 2
Class B -14 days > 12.5 kgs/cm 2
28 days > 17.5 kgs/cm 2
Class E -14 days > 10.5 kgs/cm 2
28 days > 17.5 kgs/cm 2
Soundness test: Is conducted for class A and B (Hydrated) and class E limes.
In all these, Le-chatelier molds must not exhibit more than 10mm expansion.
Workability test: Is done for class C and D limes. In quick lime form, they shall
require not less than 12 bumps to attain an average spread of 19 Cms from an
initial spread of 11 cm on the flow table. In hydrated form, they shall require not
less than 10 bumps to attain the same average spread of 19cm from an initial
spread of 11cm on flow tables.
Slaking of burnt calcined lime: It is a process by which the lime is made suitable
for use in engineering works. The quick lime obtained after burning lime stone has
great affinity for moisture. When quick lime is exposed to atmosphere, it starts
getting moistures from air and thus starts slaking. This process of slaking is very
slow, as availability of moisture from atmospheric air is limited. The phenomenon of
slaking quick lime by atmospheric air is called air slaking or natural slaking.
Slaking of quick lime at construction sites is done with help of water. The slaking of
lime with the help water can be divided into 2 parts.
1. Slaking to paste: Quick lime is added in a tank containing water about 2 to
3 times, the volume of quick lime to be slaked. The moisture is kept stirred
for some time, so that no particle which can slake will remain un-slaked.
In fact slaking to paste can be done with the help of pair of tanks as shown in the fig

The two tanks are so located such that the level of the lower tank is lower than the
bottom level of the upper tank. By this arrangements, the contents of the upper
tank can be poured in to the lower tank. Both the tanks remain connected by a hole
at bottom of common wall.
Lime is first slaked in upper tank. During slaking the hole between the tanks is kept
closed. Now the hole is opened and all the dissolved contents gets poured into the
lower tank, leaving behind un-slaked and bigger particles in the upper tank. Water
from the lower tank is partly evaporated and partly percolated in a time of one or
two days. The white solution of lime, is converted into paste during this time. The
hole between the tanks should be fitted with a sieve to prevent movement of bigger
particles from upper to lower tank. This is called slaking of lime to paste.
Slaking to powder: In this method, quick lime is spread on a pucca cemented
platform in a layer of 12cm thick. Water is sprinkled on this layer with the help of
cans fitted with a nozzle. The lime slakes and gets reduced to powder form. The
heap of lime is turned once or twice upside down during sprinkling of water. The
of 3 meshes to remove unburnt lumps and other foreign mattes and the screened
lime is used for making mortar
Natural hydraulic lime: In manufactured by calcining Kankar, which is an impure
form of lime stone. Kankar may be available in the form of blocks or nodules.
Nodules of Kankar are found at the surface or slightly embedded in ground, whereas
Kankar blocks are found at the river banks. Kankar is quarried with the help of crow
bars and pick axes. Quarried Kankar is washed and crushed into suitable sized
pebbles. Calcination of Kankar is done in the kilns and slaking operation of
hydraulic lime is very slow. Generally calcined Kankar is first of all ground dried and
water is sprinkled over it.
Artificial hydraulic lime: If natural raw material is not available, hydraulic lime is
manufactured by using fat lime. Fat lime is converted into artificial hydraulic lime by
adding clay and other constituents that produce hydraulicity. Method of conversion
depends on type of lime stone. If limestone to be used is of very soft nature like
chalk, it is first ground into fine powder and mixed with appropriate quantity of clay
and burnt in kiln. The resulting powder is slaked by sprinkling water. The lime
manufactured thus has all the properties of hydraulic lime.
If the limestone from which hydraulic lime to be manufactured is of hard variety, it
is first burnt and slaked like fat lime. To the slaked lime, required proportion of clay
is added and the mixture is cast into suitable sized balls. The balls are allowed to
dry and burnt in kiln. The resulting product is an artificial variety of hydraulic lime.
As this lime is produced by burning twice in kiln, it is also called twice kilned lime.
Testing of lime:
1. Hydraulic lime mortar
Lime: Sand: 1:3
2. Adhesive strength (With bricks) after 7 days curing 2.25 kg/cm 2
3. Tensile strength (Briquette test ) after 21 days of curing 6.3 kg/cm 2

4. Comp strength after 21 days curing

35kgs /cm 2 (5 to 7 cm cube test)
I.S.I. Specifies the following tests
1. Visual inspection: If colour is milky white, it is fat or pure lime. If ordinary white,
it is fat lime, if colour is dirty or grey, it is hydraulic lime having lot of coal ash etc. If
lime available consists of lumps, it shows quick lime or unburnt lime.
2. Chemical analysis: (Cementation value) already explained
3. Hcl test: This test is carried out to classify the lime and also to assess the lime
Take small amount of powdered lime in a test tube and note the level of lime, after
adding water to it. The tube is stirred with glass rod and left for 24 hours. If there is
lot of effervescence, it is indicate high %age of CaCo 3. The residue left at the bottom
of test tube indicates the proportion of impurities or hydraulic properties of lime. If
thick gel is formed in the test tube, even after turning the test tube side down, it
shows eminently hydraulic lime. If the gel formed is not very thick and tends the
flow out on tilting the tube, it indicates feebly hydraulic lime.
Soundness test: This test is carried out by Lc-Chatelies apparatus. It consists of
brass cylinder mould attached with two long indicators and two glass plates.
The mold is placed on glass plates with 1:3: 12 (Mixture of cement, hydrated lime
and sand). Mortar is prepared by adding water at the rate of 12% of weight of
mixture. The mold is covered at top by glass plate and left for one hour. The
distance between the indicator needles is then measured. The mould is then placed
in a damp air cupboard for 48 hours and subjected to action of saturated steam for
3 hours without immersing in water. The mould is allowed to cool and the distance
between ends of 2 indicators is measured again. The increase is calculated and
should not be more than 10mm. I.S. also specify popping and pitting tests. Pats are
prepared by mixing 70 gms of hydrated lime with 70cc of water and 10gms of
plaster of Paris. They are subjected to steam action and examined for disintegration
and pitting. Any of these indications shows unsoundness of lime.
Test of workability: By this test workability is estimated. Take handball of
prepared mortar and dash it on the surface on the wall, where it is to be used. The
area covered by mortar in relation to its dished amount gives an indication of
suitability of various ingredients in the mortar.
Test for transverse strength: Prepare a test specimen 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm x 10cm.
The specimen is cured for 28 days at 90% humidity at 24 to 30 oC. These specimens
are immersed in water for an hour and tested in the apparatus for transverse
strength. Specimen is fixed in the M/c and load is applied transversely with the help
of third roller placed at mid length of the specimen. Load is applied at a rate of 7.5
Kg/min till specimen breaks. Span of the specimen is kept 8 Cms.
Modular of rapture, M= 3Ws
2 bd 2
kg/Cm W
breaking load in kgs.
span in cm (8 Cms) b= breath (2.5 Cms ) d= depth (2.5 Cms)