In this Essay I will inform you of the social, economic and environmental advantages/ disadvantages which relate to the activity and outcomes of the Limestone Industry.

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Charlie Macgilchrist 10C

GCSE Double Science/ Chemistry/ Mr Ward/ Term 1

15th Oct 03               Science Essay-The Limestone Industry

In this Essay I will inform you of the social, economic and environmental advantages/ disadvantages which relate to the activity and outcomes of the Limestone Industry.

Firstly is shall answer the highly common and simple question; ‘Why bother Having this industry?’

Look around you. The house your siting in, warm and cosy wouldn’t be standing if it wasn’t for the limestone industry, in fact buildings as strong and durable as these are wouldn’t exist. Finding it hard to read this essay? A little bit short sighted perhaps? Then get out you reading specs that they themselves, wouldn’t exist if the limestone industry didn’t. I like the new car you’ve got out side, im sure that if the limestone industry didn’t exist neither would your car because steel manufacturing to make the car would be too expensive. Hungry? Then swipe some of the millions of fresh and delicious vegetables from the local supermarket that wouldn’t be so cheap let alone delicious if the limestone industry didn’t exist. In fact without this industry there would be no fertile farming land, so farming wouldn’t exist. Foundations and cement for buildings, statues, pavements and roads couldn’t be made to the cheapest and highest standard and strengths they are now, the sea wave barriers couldn’t be produced to prevent erosion against the coasts. Glass jewels, ornaments, spectacles, kitchen-ware and windows couldn’t be made and hundreds of thousands of people around the entire world would be missing a job.

So how exactly does farming benefit from the Limestone Industry?

Well limestone happens to be calcium carbonate that reacts quite easily with acid, neutralising it and forming salts as the product. In farming, to grow healthy crops you need a pH level as close to neutral (pH7) as possible and nitrates, phosphates, CALCIUM, potassium and other minerals including water, light and carbon dioxide to optimise growth and nutrition. Using ammonium salts such as ammonium nitrate provides the crops with a high concentration of nitrates but this is decomposed by the plant leaving(Depending on the reactants in the salt.) Sulphur, Nitric and other harmful Acids building up in the soil, thus reduces the pH of the chemicals surrounding the crops below pH7, which in turn can substantially stunt the growth and health of the crop and eventually kill it. It also contaminates and poisons animals and drinking water since the acids are washed away into the ground and into Rivers and Lakes. The unused fertiliser is washed away into the rivers which then feeds the Algae and water bacteria, which then grows rapidly, using up all the dissolved oxygen in the water, causing the other water plants and sea creatures to suffocate, die and decay (This process is called EUTROPHICATION.). Since we produce a lot of sulphur and nitrogen dioxide emissions from factories and transportation, which dissolve into water to form acids, this too has the same effect on the farmland and environment, and the only quick, reliable, easy and affordable way to reverse this is to add Limestone or quicklime which reacts fast with the excess acids to produce calcium salts that have a pH of 7. Without using this it inevitably leaves the farmer with no food, no fertile land , no fish and no money, and us humans and animals starving to death with no food either. But this can be reversed by the application of limestone dissolved into the moisture surrounding the crops. It reacts with the fertilisers to form a mineral salts salt, which is both neutral and soluble so the crop can easily absorb the minerals safely from it. It also aids the rate of photosynthesis since the products of the reaction between the fertiliser(s) and the limestone also include carbon dioxide, water, and since this is an exothermic reaction it also releases energy in the form of heat. All three of these products are essential factors of optimising the rate of photosynthesis in plants, hence they increase the growth of the crop as well as saving it’s health and allows bigger amounts of crop to be grown, sold and eaten in a much shorter time-scale. Any unreacted fertilisers can be neutralised by the blasting of Calcium Carbonate and Oxide powders into the rivers to prevent eutrophication, This saves the land, crop, sea creatures and us humans, from being poisoned by contaminated drinking water, and clearly increases the profits of the Farming company substantially and prevents the starvation of us humans who buy and eat the crop.

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So how does the limestone industry benefit the building of houses, buildings-foundations and concrete statues?

Limestone composites of Calcium oxide and Carbon dioxide Molecules bonded together and Calcium oxide is a hard strong material that’s also cheap and ideal for mixing with other compounds for producing statues and sturdy long lasting foundations for houses. Mixed with other chemicals it dries as a good glue too, hence using it in cement for the ‘gluing’ together of bricks for the construction of buildings and houses is important too. It can easily be produced through the simple THERMAL DECOMPOSITION of Calcium Carbonate ...

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