This is because of the different fuels used to heat the limestone (calcium carbonate) to convert it to quicklime (calcium oxide). Many suppliers use pulverized coal and a mixture of pet coke which can result in a slight grayish color to the quicklime due to the exposure to the fuel. You’ll notice that a pebble of quicklime, when split, will appear white inside since this area has not been exposed to the burning fuel directly. Generally, The tint of the quicklime has no significant bearing upon the reaction of the quicklime with water. This is because the amount of material associated with the color is insignificant. The exception would be if the quicklime were overburned which could decrease the reactivity.
Worker Safety Lime, particularly quicklime, is an alkaline material that is reactive in the presence of moisture. Workers handling lime must be trained and wear proper protective equipment.
Eye Hazards—Lime can cause severe eye irritation or burning, including permanent damage. Eye protection (chemical goggles, safety glasses and/or face shield) should be worn where there is a risk of lime exposure. Contact lenses should not be worn when working with lime products.
Skin Hazards—Lime can cause irritation and burns to unprotected skin, especially in the presence of moisture. Prolonged contact with unprotected skin should be avoided. Protective gloves and clothing that fully covers arms and legs are recommended. Particular care should be exercised with quicklime because its reaction with moisture generates heat capable of causing thermal burns.
Inhalation Hazards—Lime dust is irritating if inhaled. In most cases, nuisance dusts masks provide adequate protection. In high exposure situations, further respiratory protection may be appropriate, depending on the concentration and length of exposure.
Lime is a generic term, but by strict definition it embraces only the manufactured forms of lime — quicklime and hydrated lime. It does not include limestone, which is the feedstock for lime manufacturing. Quicklime, the product of calcination of limestone, consists of the oxides of calcium and magnesium and, in the United States, it is available in three forms:
High calcium quicklime — derived from limestone containing 0 to 5 percent magnesium carbonate.
Magnesian quicklime — derived from limestone containing 5 to 35 percent magnesium carbonate.
Dolomitic quicklime — derived from limestone containing 35 to 46 percent magnesium carbonate.
Hydrated lime is a dry powder manufactured by treating quicklime with sufficient water to satisfy its chemical affinity for water, thereby converting the oxides to hydroxides.
Depending upon the type of quicklime used and the hydrating conditions employed, the amount of water in chemical combination varies, as follows:
High calcium hydrated lime — high calcium quicklime produces a hydrated lime containing
generally 72 to 74 percent calcium oxide and 23 to 24 percent chemically combined water.
Dolomitic hydrated lime (normal) — under atmospheric hydrating conditions only the calcium oxide fraction of dolomitic quicklime hydrates, producing a hydrated lime of the following chemical composition: 46 to 48 percent calcium oxide, 33 to 34 percent magnesium oxide, and 15 to 17 percent chemically combined water.
Dolomitic hydrated lime (pressure) — this lime is produced from dolomitic quicklime under pressure, which results in hydrating all of the magnesium oxide as well as all of the calcium oxide, producing the following chemical composition: 40 to 42 percent calcium oxide, 29 to 30 percent magnesium oxide, and 25 to 27 percent chemically combined water.
The term agricultural lime, or "aglime," usually refers to crushed limestone. Limestone (calcium carbonate) is not the same as hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide).
Lime is not regulated as a hazardous chemical when transported.
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