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Lesson 7

Why is Asbestos Used?

It is a really, really versatile material. It adds strength and flexibility and can provide heat, sound and electrical resistance.

This means asbestos can be found in a huge variety of products and materials. These materials have become known as ACMs, or Asbestos Containing Materials.

You can find out more about the properties and uses of asbestos by clicking on the headings on this page.

  • Insulating pipes and pipework
  • Included within walls to prevent fire from spreading
  • Woven into fabrics for fire-proof clothing
  • Storage bins for combustibles

  • Included within walls for sound insulation (asbestos papers, corrugated papers, millboards)
  • Included in sprayed ceiling treatments for its acoustics properties (acoustic plaster)

  • Added to various products and materials to increase strength, such as plastics, resins and especially cement

  • As asbestos is chemically inert it was an ideal choice for use in seals and gaskets for chemical containers or where chemicals were used
  • As a reinforcing agent in asbestos cement
  • To protect materials from either acid or alkaline attacks/exposure

  • Easily combined with other materials and products
  • Spun and/or woven into fabrics and cloths

  • Protects the surfaces of various electrical components from potential hazards, such as moisture or chemicals
  • To insulate wiring and coils
  • Helped to extend the life of electrical equipment (in part due to heat resistance allowing operation at a greater temperature)
  • Used in ships and vehicles