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< prev - next > Construction Cement and binders KnO 100095_Lime production Traditional techniques in Sri Lanka case study (Printable PDF)
There is a long history of production and
use of lime in Sri Lanka. Its main use has
been as a cementing agent and as a
decorative whitewash in the building
industry. In recent years the demand for
lime has increased. It is now also used
for water treatment, in the sugar industry,
for agricultural purposes and in other
miscellaneous applications such as road
stabilisation. However, traditional
methods of lime production are still very
much in evidence and few attempts have
been made to improve upon these
methods, for example by improving the
kiln design.
Coral and shell deposits, the raw
materials traditionally used for lime
production, are mainly confined to the
south-western and southern coastal belts
of the island. In the central hill country
lime is also produced by making use of
dolomite deposits. Dolomite is a type of
limestone containing a proportion of
magnesium carbonate (MgCO3) as well as
calcium carbonate (CaCO3).
Figure 1: A traditional kiln.
Photo credit: Practical Action
The demand for lime in Sri Lanka is mainly in the urban areas. Very large quantities of lime
are transported to Colombo daily.
This case study illustrates the traditional techniques adopted for the production of lime
hydrate in Sri Lanka and compares the methods used with dolomite and coral as the raw
materials. The present state of the lime industry has been studied by a number of
organisations including Intermediate Technology Development Group, Industrial Development
Board, Ceramic Research and Development Centre and Institute for Construction Training and
Development. Their findings reveal that coral and shell deposits are being exhausted rapidly
and an alternative raw material for lime production has to be identified as well as
technologies introduced for the establishment of energy efficient lime kilns due to a scarcity
of fuelwood in most areas. The State has also banned the mining of coral within 300m inland
of the high water mark on the coast and for a distance of 2km offshore because of severe
coastal erosion. The results of studies to improve the efficiency of lime burning in Sri Lanka
are described in another case study in this series.
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