Unmagnified, the various asbestos materials look like pillowy, fibrous versions of the minerals they are formed from.
Magnified, these fibers are themselves made up of millions of other fibers, separable up to microscopic levels below 0.06 micrometers — about the same size as a chromosome of human DNA and many times smaller than the size of the average human hair.
How Asbestos is Created
The formation of asbestos fibers occurs as the minerals are transformed under intense heat and pressure. When the minerals cool, they crystallize into parallel lattices that break more readily along two planes but not a third, leading to long, hair-like fibers.
Each larger fiber can separate into millions or even billions of smaller fibers, a property known as being “friable.”
This heating, cooling and crystallization process is what makes asbestos different than most other minerals.
In fact, asbestos is actually the name for a type of formation rather than a mineral itself, meaning that many of the types of asbestos have non-asbestos forms.
Asbestos can be found naturally in almost two-thirds of the rocks formations in the Earth’s crust, making it an extremely common mineral form.
Physical Asbestos Properties
Asbestos has a number of physical properties that manufacturers and industrialists found incredibly useful. These properties include:
- High Tensile Strength — Asbestos fibers have a higher tensile strength than steel, meaning that asbestos-infused cables have a higher pressure threshold before they break
- Non-Flammable — Asbestos cannot be burned or melted, even at extremely high temperatures up to 2750° C
- Thermal Stability and Thermal Resistance — Asbestos is a great insulator, reducing temperature changes while shielding objects from high temperatures
- Electrical Resistance — Asbestos will not carry an electrical current nor will an electrical current cause the material to rapidly elevate in temperature
- Chemical Resistance — Asbestos is non-reactive to a wide range of caustic or oxidizing chemicals
Each type of asbestos has slightly different properties. Follow the navigation links to learn more about each type or the general uses of asbestos.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and have received a cancer diagnosis, contact Mesowatch today.
Our team of the top mesothelioma lawyers in the country will provide immediate assistance and free, confidential case evaluations.
We will quickly identify all liable parties and pursue all possible compensation for your asbestos exposure diagnosis of mesothelioma.