Asbestos is a general name for several varieties of fibrous minerals which are available in nature. But presently, most of the commercial asbestos produced is ‘chriotile’ [Mg6SiO11(OH)6.H2O].
Properties of Asbestos
1. It is flexible, soft and non-porous.
2. It is fire proof and acid proof material.
3. It is a good insulator of heat and electricity.
4. When it is mixed with cement and water, it retains shape firmly.
5. Its colour is brown or grey.
6. It can be cut into pieces or can be drilled.
7. It possesses high tensile strength in the direction of its fibres.
8. Its specific gravity is 3.10.
Uses of Asbestos
1. Asbestos cement sheets are the cheapest roofing materials.
2. Asbestos cement pipes are used as down take pipes of rain water from the roof.
3. With bitumen it forms good damp proof layer.
4. It is used for preparing fire proof ropes and clothes.
5. It is used as covering material for fuse and electric switch boxes.
6. It is useful for insulating boilers, furnaces etc.