THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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LIME (O. Eng. lim, Lat. limus, mud, from linere, to smear), the name given to a viscous exudation of the holly-tree, used for snaring birds and known as “bird-lime.” In chemistry, it is the popular name of calcium oxide, CaO, a substance employed in very early times as a component of mortars and cementing materials. It is prepared by the burning of limestone (a process described by Dioscorides and Pliny) in kilns similar to those described under Cement. The value and subsequent treatment of the product depend on the purity of the limestone; a pure stone yields a “fat” lime which readily slakes; an impure stone, especially if magnesia be present, yields an almost unslakable “poor” lime. See Cement, Concrete and Mortar, for details.

Pure calcium oxide “quick-lime,” obtained by heating the pure carbonate, is a white amorphous substance, which can be readily melted and boiled in the electric furnace, cubic and acicular crystals being deposited on cooling the vapour. It combines with water, evolving much heat and crumbling to pieces; this operation is termed “slaking” and the resulting product “slaked lime”; it is chemically equivalent to the conversion of the oxide into hydrate. A solution of the hydrate in water, known as lime-water, has a weakly alkaline reaction; it is employed in the detection of carbonic acid. “Milk of lime” consists of a cream of the hydrate and water. Dry lime has no action upon chlorine, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide, although in the presence of water combination ensues.

In medicine lime-water, applied externally, is an astringent and desiccative, and it enters into the preparation of linamentum calcis and carron oil which are employed to heal burns, eczema, &c. Applied internally, lime-water is an antacid; it prevents the curdling of milk in large lumps (hence its prescription for infants); it also acts as a gastric sedative. Calcium phosphate is much employed in treating rickets, and calcium chloride in haemoptysis and haemophylia. It is an antidote for mineral and oxalic acid poisoning.


Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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