Asbestos is the name given to six different minerals that are used or have been used in various products, usually for the construction of homes and offices. These minerals are popular for their strength, low electrical conductivity and resistance to heat and chemicals.
There are two main types of asbestos, known as serpentine and amphibole, each with different structural properties. Serpentine asbestos has a layered structure, whereas amphibole is made of chains of fibres.
The three most common types of asbestos are as follows:
This is part of the amphibole variety. Amosite contains magnesium and iron, and its fibres appear grey or brown in colour.
Again, part of the amphibole group, crocidolite consists of straight blue fibres and contains magnesium and iron in addition to sodium.
This is the most commonly-used form of asbestos and belongs in the serpentine group. Chrysotile contains high levels of magnesium and its fibres are white in colour.
All forms of asbestos typically range in colour from white to brown, although a variety called actinolite contains a high concentration of iron, giving its fibres a dark green crystalline appearance.
Where is Asbestos Found?
Large deposits of asbestos can be found in the United States, Canada and South Africa to name but a few countries.
Asbestos was commonly used in the construction of buildings until the 1980s and has been found in many highly-populated structures, such as schools. It was typically used as thermal insulation and fireproofing in addition to being added to concrete, asphalt and plaster mixes.
Other places that asbestos can be found include:
- Pipe coatings;
- Floor tiles;
- Artex ceiling finishes; and
- Wall boards
Roads that are coated with serpentine rock dust can be incredibly hazardous, so this is another factor to be mindful of in countries across the world.
Asbestos can also be found in the home. In addition the previously mentioned locations, asbestos can also be found in the following places:
- Boiler insulation;
- Fireplaces; and
- Roof shingles
If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home, it is vital that you do not sand, drill through, or otherwise damage the asbestos products. Loosened fibres can be circulated through your home by fans and air-conditioning units.
Asbestos products deteriorate over time, increasing their risk factor, so it is vital that this is kept in mind if you do find asbestos in your home or workplace. To have your home inspected and treated, talk to the experts at Asbestos Removals Australia. They can make sure the asbestos is treated correctly so you are safe.