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The properties of asbestos fibers such as dimensions, thickness, strength, and related features are discussed in this article.
The ultra-fine thickness of individual asbestos fibers affect its properties, utility, and hazardous nature as explained here.
This article series describes the physical properties of asbestos including its mechanical, chemical, electrical and related properties both in pure asbestos form and when asbestos is mixed with other materials like cement or rubber. As the author points out, while this is a lenghty article, there is far more detailed information about asbestos properties, chemistry, etc.
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Asbestos is generally as dense as the rock in which it occurs but it forms masses of fibers. Specific gravity of the fibers range from 2.5 for chrysotile to 3.3 for the other types.
The fibrous structure of asbestos is as important to its industrial value as its mineral nature. Asbestos can be subdivided into fibers so fine that only the electron microscope will reveal them. The finest fibers are found in chrysotile. Its basic single fiber is a smooth cylinder approximately A in diameter (0.00000071 in.) .
In comparison, a human hair might have a diameter of 0.00158 in. Because of the fine structure of the asbestos, approximately 850,000 1,400,000 fibrils are found in a linear inch of chrysotile ; however, only 630 human hairs can packed into a linear inch.
Table 2.2 below includes information comparing chrysotile asbestos fibers with other common fibers.
[You will observe that asbestos fibers are among the smallest diameter materials known - Ed.]
TABLE 2.2 COMPARISON OF DIAMETERS OF VARIOUS FIBERS WITH ASBESTOS *
* Can. Mining and Met. Bull. (April, 1951).
Asbestos fibers have an extremely large surface area value which is a very important property.
TABLE 2.3. COMPARISON OF THE SURFACE AREA OF VARIOUS Asbestos Fibers *
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