The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 6 (1918) > Issues > Issue 2 > Lime concrete in the East: Part I: Original paper
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Lime concrete in the East: Part I: Original paper

STONE lime of great purity, and consequently nonhydraulic, is used largely in India and Burma, and engineers have learnt to place considerable confidence in the material. To enable it to set under water, it is mixed with "soorkhee," the homra of Egypt.* To the present day engineers in India do not know exactly how much soorkhee is required by each kind of lime, and this ignorance is due to the want of scientific laboratory tests, of the kind so frequently made in Europe. It seems no advantage to send lime and soorkhee to England to be tested, since the difference in climate, the sea voyage, and the lapse of time in transit might vitiate the results. Conservative Indian opinion, based on long experience, approves of a mixture of a half-part of under-burnt with a half-part of well-burnt soorkhee to one part of slaked lime and one part of sharp, clean sand, all measured in bulk, dry. The materials are thoroughly incorporated and ground in a mortar-mill, either under one wheel pulled round a circular trough by a bullock, or in a pan-machine under a pair of wheels. The mortar should be a thick reddish paste, in which the particles of lime cannot be distinguished by the naked eye. A mortar made in this way sets very well indeed in still water, but it sets comparatively very slowly, and some engineers (the author included) add, when necessary, a proportion of Portland cement to the mixture. The introduction markedly hastens the setting to an extent depending on the proportion of cement to lime. One part cement to one part lime by volume sets apparently as quickly as cement mortar. In the early stages of setting the strength of the concrete is much increased, admitting of early handling and removal of moulding boards. The addition of cement preserves soorkhee mortar in wet foundations from the evils of percolation, and the cement, besides, seems to have a chemical (?) effect on the lime, fixing the particles and aiding in a more solid set. * "Soorkhee" in India is finely powdered red brick. E. A. W. Phillips