A commercially important property of lime is its ability to form solutions with silicates.
When lime is heated with silica sand (SiO2) and sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), a solution is formed that does not crystallize when cooled. Instead, it hardens to an amorphous, clear and nearly colorless solid – namely, glass.
Because it is a mixture and not a pure compound, glass does not have a distinct melting point; it gradually softens as it is heated. Therefore, it can be molded and blown into many useful shapes. The production of container glass from lime is another ancient use of our material.