Lime Products and their Uses

The chemical processes that occur naturally in the lime cycle have been manipulated by people for thousands of years. Each of the different forms of Calcium Carbonate has different properties for which many different uses have been found.



Limestone and lime products have played an integral role in how Wales has developed through the centuries. It was a vital ingredient in the development of Welsh industries and agriculture, and has influenced the appearance of both our rural industrial and urban landscapes and the houses we live in!

Lime was used as a soil improver or 'manure'. Its alkaline pH neutralised acidic soils, enabling upland soils to be cultivated and increasing crop diversity and yields.

In the past, because of its caustic properties, quicklime has been used for disposing of dead bodies by dissolving them!

Lime light was an early form of lighting in theatres. When Calcium Oxide is heated to a high temperature, it produces a very bright light.

By heating lime with silica sand (SiO2) and sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) glass is made.

Limestone is used as a flux in the production of copper and iron. When iron ore and limestone are heated, the limestone reacts with the impurities in the ore to form slag, which can be separated from the molten metal.

Lime was also used for making soap.

Slaked lime can be used to make building products such as plaster and mortar, putty and limewash paints.


Non-hydraulic lime

Non-hydraulic lime or lime putty is pure slaked lime.

Hydraulic lime

Hydraulic lime is made from limestone containing silica and clay. This gives it the useful ability to set hard under water!