Lime is a manufactured product made from limestone (calcium carbonate) or dolomite (calcium magnesium carbonate). The raw material is processed into quicklime and hydrated lime. Since it is alkaline, it’s often used to adjust the pH of water and soils containing acidic components. It’s used to treat both drinking water and wastewater. Plain calcium or magnesium carbonate is processed in several ways to create chemically different products for different purposes. Quicklime is made by heating calcium carbonate in a process called “calcining” to release carbon dioxide, leaving calcium oxide.

What is Quicklime?

Calcium oxide (CaO), commonly known as quicklime or burnt lime, is a widely used chemical compound. It is a white, caustic, alkaline, crystalline solid at room temperature. The broadly used term lime connotes calcium-containing inorganic materials, in which carbonates, oxides and hydroxides of calcium, silicon, magnesium, aluminium, and iron predominate. By contrast, quicklime specifically applies to the single chemical compound calcium oxide. Calcium oxide that survives processing without reacting in building products such as cement is called free lime. Both quicklime and a chemical derivative (calcium hydroxide, of which quicklime is the base anhydride) are important commodity chemicals.

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