Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous form of silica. There are 6 types of such mineral classified as “Asbestos” in UK legislation.
Three have been widely exploited for their numerous properties including thermal resistance, strength, flexibility, chemical stability etc. These are:
- Crocidolite – blue asbestos
- Amosite (grunerite) – brown asbestos
- Chrysotile – white asbestos
The other three – anthophyllite, tremolite and actinolite - are rarely found in construction or associated with plant or machinery.
The fibre has been used since ancient times and has more recently been used in thousands of applications.
Today asbestos materials are categorised under a number of headings – coatings, insulation, boards, cement products and miscellaneous products such as friction materials, floor coverings, gaskets and seals, fibre reinforced plastics and papers.