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Calcium hydroxide (KAL-see-um hye-DROK-side) is the chemical compound with the formula Ca(OH)2. It is a white, odorless, water-soluble solid. When dissolved in water, it liberates hydroxide ions (OH-), which makes it a strong base.
This compound is produced by reacting calcium oxide with water, a process called slaking. This reaction is exothermic, which means that it produces a great deal of heat. The resulting solution is known as slaked lime and has many uses. It is used in the preparation of steel, paper making, and other industrial processes. It is also used to neutralize acid in lakes formed by nitric and sulfuric acids carried to the lake by rain, snow, and sleet. This method of “liming” lakes is known as “alternative water treatment”.
It is also widely used in building and paving materials, such as mortar and concrete. It is mixed with sand and water to make a paste that is put between bricks to hold them together. It is also used in the production of sugar, and in the processing of animal hides and fur to separate the hair/fur from the skin. It is also an important component of the brewing of beer and vinegar, as well as pickling.
Calcium hydroxide is a dangerous chemical when concentrated, and it can cause irritation to the eyes and skin, as well as chemical burns. It can also irritate the lungs and can lead to lung damage. This is why it must be kept in a tightly closed container and only handled by trained professionals. American Elements manufactures high purity slaked lime in various grades including Mil Spec; ACS, Reagent and Technical Grade; Food, Agricultural and Pharmaceutical Grade; and Optical Grade.