Question:

What is lime, and why do people in movies use it to dispose of dead bodies?

Answer:

Lime is calcium or magnesium compounds ground into powder. Usually the calcium and magnesium come from limestone rock. It is thought that lime helps to speed up the decomposition process of dead bodies, however this is not true.

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Chemical elements

A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Elements are divided into metals, metalloids, and non-metals. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen (non-metals), silicon, arsenic (metalloids), aluminium, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead (metals).

The lightest chemical elements, including hydrogen, helium (and smaller amounts of lithium, beryllium and boron), are thought to have been produced by various cosmic processes during the Big Bang and cosmic-ray spallation. Production of heavier elements, from carbon to the very heaviest elements, proceeded by stellar nucleosynthesis, and these were made available for later solar system and planetary formation by planetary nebulae and supernovae, which blast these elements into space. The high abundance of oxygen, silicon, and iron on Earth reflects their common production in such stars, after the lighter gaseous elements and their compounds have been subtracted. While most elements are generally viewed as stable, a small amount of natural transformation of one element to another also occurs at the present time through decay of radioactive elements as well as other natural nuclear processes.


Dietary minerals

Dietary minerals (also known as mineral nutrients) are the chemical elements required by living organisms, other than the four elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen present in common organic molecules. The term is archaic, as it describes chemical elements rather than actual minerals.

Minerals in order of abundance in the human body include the seven major minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. Important "trace" or minor minerals, necessary for mammalian life, include iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, molybdenum, iodine, and selenium (see below for detailed discussion).


Reducing agents

A reducing agent (also called a reductant or reducer) is the element or compound in an oxidation-reduction reaction that donates an electron to another species. Because the reducing agent is losing electrons, we say it has been oxidized.

This means that there must be an "oxidizer"; because if any chemical is an electron donor (reducer), another must be an electron recipient (oxidizer). Thus reducers are "oxidized" by oxidizers and oxidizers are "reduced" by reducers; reducers are by themselves reduced (have more electrons) and oxidizers are by themselves oxidized (have fewer electrons). For example, consider the following reaction:

Limestone Calcium Magnesium Lime
Agricultural lime

Agricultural lime, also called aglime, Biolime, agricultural limestone, garden lime or liming, is a soil additive made from pulverized limestone or chalk. The primary active component is calcium carbonate. Additional chemicals vary depending on the mineral source and may include calcium oxide, magnesium oxide and magnesium carbonate.

The effects of agricultural lime on soil are:


Lime mortar

Lime mortar is a type of mortar composed of lime and an aggregate such as sand, mixed with water. It is one of the oldest known types of mortar, dating back to the 4th century BC and widely used in Ancient Rome and Greece, when it largely replaced the clay and gypsum mortars common to Ancient Egyptian construction.

With the introduction of ordinary portland cement (OPC) during the 19th century the use of lime mortar in new constructions gradually declined, largely due to portland's ease of use, quick setting, and compressive strength. However the soft, porous properties of lime mortar provide certain advantages when working with softer building materials such as natural stone and terracotta. For this reason, while OPC continues to be commonly used in brick and concrete construction, in the repair of older, stone-built structures and the restoration of historical buildings the use of OPC has largely been discredited.

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Alkaline earth metals

The alkaline earth metals are a group of chemical elements in the periodic table with very similar properties. They are all shiny, silvery-white, somewhat reactive metals at standard temperature and pressure and readily lose their two outermost electrons to form cations with charge 2+ and an oxidation state, or oxidation number of +2. In the modern IUPAC nomenclature, the alkaline earth metals comprise the group 2 elements.

The alkaline earth metals are beryllium (Be), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), strontium (Sr), barium (Ba), and radium (Ra). This group lies in the s-block of the periodic table as all alkaline earth metals have their outermost electron in an s-orbital.

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