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Limestone pillar supports

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Stalactites and stalagmites form naturally in caves, but take a long time to do so. If left long enough they will eventually join and form a limestone pillar.

It occurred to me that stalactite-like limestone pillars could be a decorative[1] architectural element, if only they could be acquired without distruction of rare and irreplacable[2] natural wonders.

I propose that such pillars may be grown much more quickly in optimal conditions, by 'farming' them. The pillars could be produced in standard sizes, and also grown to order. This would of course still take some time, but the starting point can be some way along in the process.
Allowing the use of a core cut from pre-existing limestone would greatly reduce the time needed, for non-purists. Probably only a few centimeters of growth would be necessary to cover this substrate.

The growing system would need to supply calcium- carbonate (CaCO3) saturated water to a point at the required height above the base level, in a dry atmosphere.
The optimum process temperature would need to be determined.
For a dissolved CaCO3 method, the water will need to be acidified with carbon dioxide (CO2), and the rate of growth may be increased if the atmosphere is low in CO2.
Given these points, a recycling system for water and CO2 would seem to be desirable, with moist, CO2-rich air from the growth chamber being bubbled through the dissolving tank.

Suggested environmentally friendly CaCO3 source: eggshells.


[1] Possibly even load-bearing.

[2] on a human timescale.

Loris, Jul 28 2011

Stalagmite Pillar http://picasaweb.go...4986352426472505362
A large natural example [Loris, Jul 28 2011]


       Wouldn't you get suicide bombers rushing into your buildings with bottles of lemon juice strapped to them?
hippo, Jul 28 2011

       [+] I'm curious as to the load-bearing properties.
FlyingToaster, Jul 28 2011

       I often make little steel stalagmites on scrap metal when pre-heating certain welding rods if I'm not near the rod oven. They build up fast. When I was dating the goddess who is now my wife, I welded a disc to the top of one and swirled the rod around to make a toadstool; she has a little pewter goblin that sits on top of it now.   

       But I digress; a special accretion device using pulverized stone and water instead of molten metal might make this a feasible process.
Alterother, Jul 28 2011

       Somewhere in the UK - might be near Wookey Hole Caves - there's a waterfall where objects are hung in the spray and rapidly accumulate a respectable coating of flowstone.   

       It's practical. Strength-wise, it should be quite good; though not as good as a pulled crystal of silicon.
8th of 7, Jul 28 2011

       [+] I think it's a beautiful and practical idea!
xandram, Jul 28 2011

       Ah, 21 Quest - you're never slow to mark something for deletion without actually understanding it, are you?   

       It amuses me that you think of yourself as a pedant.
Loris, Jul 28 2011

       We all have our faults. [Alterother], for instance, while morally opposed to both (fish)boning and mfd-ing, is often quick to harshly mock ideas that he does not understand. He also refers to himself in the third-person with annoying regularity, posts off-topic annos on a daily basis, and is a chronic misspeller of the word 'thier.'
Alterother, Jul 28 2011

       We are glad that, although [Alterother] refers to himself in the third person, he uses the singular.   

       If he used the first person plural, for example, he would be liable for royalty fees, as we have the HalfBakery copyright.
8th of 7, Jul 28 2011

       [8th] open source or be pirated!
Voice, Jul 28 2011

       Oh good, 8th, you can have Maxwell's cube... you just have to figure out how to line up the gangplank.
FlyingToaster, Jul 28 2011

       Please reserve "redundant" for things that already exist on the halfbakery, and please don't mark ideas for deletion just because you can find another instance on the Internet. Please continue to link to other instances if they're interesting, and please do continue to mark ideas for deletion whose existence you knew about off the top of your head, simply as a well- informed amateur.   

       I'm ignoring the mfd, but these tags do clog our database, and it would be kind to the posters (and less distracting to the maintainers) not to apply them in cases like this. Thanks.
jutta, Aug 11 2011


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