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Author: Subject: Asbestos furnace cement -- should I or shouldn't I?
-jeffB
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[*] posted on 4-2-2008 at 13:56
Asbestos furnace cement -- should I or shouldn't I?


A nearby farm-supply store, a fine source of fertilizers and whatnot at good prices, also has various odds and ends stuffed at the back of shelf corners. One such item is a one-pound jar of "Asbestos furnace cement". It looks like it's been there for decades. It's surely not the sort of thing one could find at the local Home Depot, at least not in this twenty-first century.

The question: Should I relieve the store of its little hazardous-material threat and buy this jar, or should I leave it for future generations? What are the advantages of genuine asbestos cement compared to today's emasculated, watered-down substitutes? What would you do with it?

I'm not exactly tempted by this. But when I think about the long-ago half-pint of benzene I burned off, and the three-quarters-full gallon jug of carbon tet that I turned in to the university haz-mat collection site, just because I didn't want to keep them in the apartment any more -- well, let's just say that I have a keen appreciation for "you don't know what you've got till it's gone." When I find something that you're not supposed to be able to get any more, there's an automatic temptation to snag it, even if I have no present use for it...
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microcosmicus
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[*] posted on 4-2-2008 at 16:02


I would suggest that, if you have a use for the stuff or expect to have a use in the
future, to consider buying it. Yes the stuff is dangerous but so are most things found
in laboratories. However, the exact dangers are well understood so you can take
appropriate safety measures to prevent trouble and stay reasonably safe

As I see it, when it comes to things like lead and asbestos, the major issue was always
mostly that people who do not understand what the material is might inadvertently
be exposed or with unacceptable exposures of people who worked with the stuff on
a daily basis. For instance, if asbestos cement was used in a stove, someone cleaning
out their stove might loosen the stuff and breathe in the dust. By contrast, I'm not
worried about getting cancer from my old asbestos heating pad because I know it is
asbestos and so take care to avoid exposure.

In conclusion, I would say that, as long as you are willing to take the appropriate safety
measures and keep the asbestos in a place away from children or ignorant adults, go
ahead and snag it.

As for what I would do with It, why I would use it to make a insulating, heat resistant
layer in a furnace, electric heater, oven, or some such similar piece of equipment.
To be safe, I would also cover it with a layer of non-asbestos cement,. Perhaps one
could also use it to plug gaps in a high-temperature application, such as what
Aqua_Fortis_100% was discussing the other week (although I would worry about
the asbestos getting loose in this application). It might also be useful for fireproofing
around wires carrying large current.
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Fleaker
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[*] posted on 4-2-2008 at 17:11


I would buy it and use it. There are applications where it is very nice and I can't just use some asbestos rope or fiber that I have.

Something I'm doing with these asbestos glassblowing boards I received is to put a slurry of 1700*C alumina refractory paste over top of it. Easily made by sifting out the fines from some commercial refractory and mixing with water and smearing it on. That cuts down on fibers produced.




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12AX7
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[*] posted on 4-2-2008 at 17:57


The nice thing about asbestos is...all the things that are nice about it. And it is (or was?) cheaper than current alternatives like Kaowool, etc. But the bad thing about asbestos is carcinogenic chopped asbestos, which I imagine is what's going to be in that stuff. So if it breaks down, it's probably going to be a deadly hazard.

If it's a ceramic based product, you can probably avoid the hazard by firing the product near its melting point -- thereby changing the crystal structure. Of course, it may no longer be asbestos after such treatment, and it may be denser = less insulating. So it's kind of a non-solution.

Tim




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chemrox
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[*] posted on 4-2-2008 at 19:34


Surely you can get the proper respirator and containers?



"Ignorance is the Mother of Devotion." — Robert Burton.
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