Geology And Geophysics

Common uses for Limestone

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"Common uses for Limestone"
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Throughout history and in present times, limestone has been used for a variety of purposes. The use of limestone on a large scale has been dated back to the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza (c. 2560 BC). First of all, one of the main uses of limestone in the modern world is in architecture. Also, limestone plays a very important role in the construction of modern roads as an aggregate -the solid base for roads. Simultaneously, limestone is used to act as a conditioner for acidic soils. With all of these factors combined, limestone is a very important material in the modern world.

The architectural uses of limestone are extremely important in current society. It serves as a very important material for masonic work in the construction industry, primarily serving as a base material for blocks for moderate sized building. But, on modern skyscrapers limestone is used mainly in thin plates for covering rather than in solid block format. Another vital use for limestone in architectural work is the manufacturing of cement and mortar. To conclude, limestone is a vital resource in architectural work.

Also, another crucial use of limestone is in the construction of modern roads as outlined at the website in the link. Modern roads mainly consist of a solid base called an aggregate with layers upon which a strong and durable core is built. Once the core has been constructed asphalt is paved on top in order to provide a flexible surface resistant to cracking. In the process outlined above crushed limestone serves the purpose of an aggregate. Therefore, limestone serves a valuable role in the construction of modern roads.

According to Clemson University, limestone serves a vital role in the agriculture industry, providing a soil conditioner to neutralize acidic soil conditions. To summarize, plants derive their nutrition from mainly calcium, magnesium and potassium. When acid deposition occurs in soil it displaces the vital nutrients from the soil in a process called leaching.

The nutrients are no longer available to the plants that rely on them, thus dramatically reducing the growth and health of the plants. To reverse the effects of this and neutralize the acid that is in the soil, crushed limestone is added to the soil. The process of this is outlined in the following equation; CaCO3 (s) + H2SO4(aq) -> CaSO4 + H2O + CO2 (g). The equation outlines that when Calcium Carbonate, one of the main components of limestone, reacts with Sulphuric Acid, the main component in acid rain, Calcium Sulfate, water and Carbon Dioxide are produced. The resulting reaction is beneficial to the growth and health of the plants. Since, the leaching has stopped due to the neutralization of the acid the necessary nutrients are available to the plants. Also, both water and carbon dioxide are necessary for plant life. In conclusion, limestone is crucial to the agriculture industry for a multitude of reasons.

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