Mechanical Properties of Asbestos
The mechanical characteristics of asbestos, tensile strength, modulus of elasticity, effects of temperature
ASBESTOS MECHANICAL PROPERTIES - CONTENTS: what are the mechanical properties of asbestos: tensile strength, modulus of elasticity, effects of temperature or high temperatures on the strength of chrysotile asbestos,
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The mechanical properties of asbestos include the tensile strength of asbestos fibers, fiber dimensions, and related data given here.
Our articles about the properties, manufacture & uses of asbestos-containing products includes detailed information on the production methods, asbestos content, and the identity and use of asbestos-containing materials.
Tensile testing of fibers has been predominantly used in
order to develop mechanical properties at both room and
elevated temperatures. The types of asbestos generally evalu-
ated are chrysotile, crocidolite and amosite. These particular
fibers produce the maximum strength. In Table 2.6, the tensile strength of various materials as well as asbestos is in-
eluded. The tensile strength values for the asbestos fibers
reported in the table are based upon breaking loads applied
to fiber bundles measuring approximately 20i in cross see-
TABLE 2.6. COMPARISON OF AVERAGE TENSILE STRENGTHS OF
[Click to enlarge any image]
Types of Material Tensile Strength for comparison with asbestos: Lb per Sq In
Ingot iron 4500
Wrought iron 48,000
Carbon steel 155 1 000
"Nichrome" steel 243,000
Piano steel wire 300,000
Cotton fiber 7300 to 89,000
Rock wool 60,000
Glass fiber 100,000 to 200,000
Chrysotile asbestos 80,000 to 200,000
Crocidolite asbestos 100,000 to 300,000
Amosite asbestos 16,000 to 90,000
Tremolite asbestos 1,000 to 8,000
*Can. Mining and Met. Bull. (1951)
Such organic fibers as wool and cotton, as well as such
synthetic products as rayon permit a certain plastic strength.
of single fiber up to the breaking point. This characteristic
shows that the fibers are elastic and have a certain degree
of plasticity. The single asbestos fibers, however, are simi-
lar to glass; they are non-plastic and elastic only. Although
asbestos fibers are non-plastic, they are extremely flexible.
This property is caused by the fact that the individual
fibers are much finer than any of the other fibers.
The tensile modulus of elasticity for asbestos fiber (chrysotile) is reported as 25 x 10 psi.
Literature on the subject shows a difference in opinion
with regard to the strength of most heat resistant fibers.
This fact results primarily from the different methods of
test and evaluation that have been used. Generally, the
chrysotile fibers and blue asbestos fibers are considered the
strongest insofar as high temperatures are concerned.
However, principal interest is with the chrysotile fibers for use
at the higher temperatures. At ordinary temperature, blue
asbestos is considererl than chrysotile, but even at
heating beyond the low temperature of 400°F, blue asbestos
loses some of its strength, while chrysotile is not affected
even at temperatures up to 700°F.
It is reported that chrysotile has little decrease in strength
in saturated steam and in moist air in temperatures up to
400°F. Above 400°F blue asbestos loses strength to a much
greater extent in moist than in dry air. At this temperature,
it undergoes decomposition.
In Table 2.7 [below] the tensile strength of chrysotile asbestos
from room temperature to 1,200°F is reported. Exposure
time at test temperature was 3 min with physical testing
being conducted at room temperature. When one hour ex-
posure periods were used, strength at 400°F resulted in
128,000 psi, 600°F of 100,000 psi, and 1,200°F of below
TABLE 2.7. TENSILE STRENGTH OF CHRYSOTILE VS. TEMPERATURE *
Tensile Strength, Per cent of Original
Temperature Lb per Sq In Tensile Strength
Normal 131,000 100.0
Heated 3 min at 600°F 120,000 91.6
Heated 3 min at 800°F 96,000 73.3
Heated 3 min at 1,000°F 78,000 59.5
Heated 3 min at 1,200°F 42,000 32.0
* Canadian Mineral Metallurgical Bulletin, April, 1951.
Asbestos is being used in combination with different fibers
in order to improve the tensile strength and the heat re-.
sistance of the other fibers at elevated temperatures. An
example concerns a method to improve heat resistant glass
tapes by incorporation of asbestos. Fabrics are constructed
so that the warp is glass yarn and the filler is asbestos.
There are other combinations such as glass core asbestos yarn.
Interest also exists in using a combination of glass fiber and
asbestos fiber in order to prepare a glass-asbestos yarn.
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 Asbestos, its Industrial Applications, D.V. Roasato, engineering consultant, Newton MA, Reinhold Publishing Co., NY, 1959, Library of Congress Catalog No. 59-12535. We are in process of re-publishing this interesting text. Excerpts & adaptations are found in InspectApedia.com articles on asbestos history, production & visual identification in and on buildings.
 "Asbestos in Plastic Compositions", A.B. Cummins, Modern Plastics [un-dated, pre 1952]
 "Asbestos in Your Home," Spokane County Air Pollution Control Authority, Spokane WA 509-477-4727 www.scapa.org provides a one-page image, a .pdf file drawing of a house warning of some possible sources of asbestos in the home. The sources are not ranked according to actual risk of releasing hazardous levels of airborne asbestos fibers and the list is useful but incomplete.
 The US EPA provides a sample list of asbestos containing products epa.gov/earth1r6/6pd/asbestos/asbmatl.htm
 "Characterization of asbestos exposure among
automotive mechanics servicing and handling
asbestos-containing materials", Gary Scott Dotson, University of South Florida, 1 June 2006, web search 3/9/2012 original source: scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3505&context=etd [copy on file as /hazmat/Automotive_Asbestos_Exposuret.pdf ].
 Asbestos Identification and Testing References
Asbestos Identification, Walter C.McCrone, McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, IL.1987 ISBN 0-904962-11-3. Dr. McCrone literally "wrote the book" on asbestos identification procedures which formed
the basis for current work by asbestos identification laboratories.
Stanton, .F., et al., National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 506: 143-151
Pott, F., Staub-Reinhalf Luft 38, 486-490 (1978) cited by McCrone
 Asbestos in Your Home U.S. EPA, Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
 Asbestos products and their history and use in various building materials such as asphalt and vinyl flooring includes discussion which draws on Asbestos, Its Industrial Applications, D.V. Rosato, engineering consultant, Newton, MA, Reinhold Publishing, 1959 Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 59-12535 (out of print, text and images available at InspectAPedia.com).
 "Handling Asbestos-Containing roofing material - an update", Carl Good, NRCA Associate Executive Director, Professional Roofing, February 1992, p. 38-43
 EPA Guidance for Controlling Asbestos-Containing Materials in buildings, NIAST, National Institute on Abatement Sciences & Technology, [republishing EPA public documents] 1985 ed., Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460 Copy on file as - /hazmat/Asbestos_in_Your_Home_US_EPA.pdf - Asbestos in Your Home - U.S. EPA, Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
Basic Information about Asbestos, US EPA, web search 08/17/2010, original source: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/help.html
"Handling Asbestos-Containing roofing material - an update", Carl Good, NRCA Associate Executive Director, Professional Roofing, February 1992, p. 38-43
EPA Guidance for Controlling Asbestos-Containing Materials in buildings, NIAST, National Institute on Abatement Sciences & Technology, [republishing EPA public documents] 1985 ed., Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
Copy on file as - /hazmat/Asbestos_in_Your_Home_US_EPA.pdf - Asbestos in Your Home - U.S. EPA, Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
[copy on file as /hazmat/Vermiculite_US_EPA.pdf/ Current Best Practices for Vermiculite Attic Insulation - May 2003, U.S. EPA
[copy on file as] /hazmat/Vermiculite_Health_Canada.pdf] Vermiculite Insulation Containing Amphibole Asbestos - September 2009, Health Canada
Managing Asbestos in Place, How to Develop and Maintain a Building Asbestos Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Program, U.S. EPA, web search 01/20/2011, original source: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/management_in_place.html
Asbestos Strategies, Lessons Learned about Management and Use of Asbestos: Report of Findings and Recommendations on the Use and Management of Asbestos, 16 May 2003, US EPA, web search 01/20/2011, original source: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/asbstrategiesrptgetf.pdf
prepared by the: Global Environment & Technology Foundation, 7010 Little River Turnpike, Suite. 460, Annandale VA 20003
Other US EPA Publications on asbestos: web search 01/20/2011, see http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/pubs.html
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Or choose the The Home Reference eBook for PCs, Macs, Kindle, iPad, iPhone, or Android Smart Phones. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAEHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.