ASBESTOS BOARD — AN 87-YEAR-LONG HISTORY
OF THE HEAT-INSULATING MATERIALS MARKET
O. V. Lavrent’ev
Translated from Ogneupory i Tekhnicheskaya Keramika, No. 11, pp. 26 – 29, November, 2001.
Asbestos board is first in the list of heat-insulating mate
rials made of asbestos. The Beloyarskii Asbestos Board Fac
tory (BABF) Joint-Stock Co. is Russia’s largest specialized
manufacturer of asbestos board and various asbestos-board-
based products. The BABF is located 50 km away from the
metropolis of the Ural District, the city of Ekaterinburg.
The history of foundation of the BABF goes back to the
early 19th century. Particularly in 1914, on the left bank of
the Pyshma river, in the neighborhood of the railway station
of Bazhenovo, a factory for fabrication of asbestos board was
put in operation. Asbestos board, since its discovery, has
been gaining ever-increasing acceptance in engineering com-
ponents and industrial structures. Its great demand is due to a
range of remarkable properties such as high mechanical
strength, high heat-insulating ability, good adherence to the
insulation surface, ease of handling, and exceptionally high
resistance to aging and high temperature.
At the start, the factory’s productivity was 650 – 800 kg
per day. Today, after alterations made to the factory and mod-
ernization and updating of the equipment, the output has in
creased 100-fold, with a substantial improvement in product
quality. At present, the BABF manufacturing capacity allows
production of a wide range of asbestos-board products, of
standard dimensions (in length, width, and thickness) or tai
lored to the users’ request (Table 1).
Asbestos board is fabricated using a beneficiated chryso
tile asbestos of different kind. The production technology in
volves the following major steps: (i) preparation of an aque
ous asbestos suspension, (ii) molding on commercial sheet-
forming machines, (iii) densification and dewatering of the
semi-finished product, (iv) drying to meet standard quality
requirements, and (v) packing of the end product.
PROPERTIES OF THE ASBESTOS BOARD
Asbestos board as a building material is highly fabri
cable. Placement of asbestos board on the insulation surface
does not require high skills or the use of sophisticated tools.
One of the placement techniques uses preliminary soaking in
water. The water-soaked asbestos board, when applied to the
surface and dried, is tightly secured on it. Using this simple
technique, flat, smooth, or shaped surfaces can be molded,
since the water-soaked asbestos board is an extremely plastic
material that fits closely all irregularities (kinks, depressions,
corners, etc.) of the surface insulated. When dried, the asbes
tos material retains the shape into which it was molded. The
time needed for the placed asbestos board to dry is rather
short, which makes it possible to minimize the waiting time
before the next technological operation. This makes it possi-
ble to reduce irretrievable losses and to optimize the produc-
tion schedule. Furthermore, the use of asbestos boards pro-
vides a number of clear advantages over conventional heat-
– high productivity of labor;
– high and stable quality of performance;
– the asbestos material undergoes no upsetting when laid
vertically in a structure;
– the material retains its volume constant;
– long-term storage life (at below-zero temperatures also);
– as needed, the asbestos board can be easily coated with
an adhesive material.
Refractoriness (the ability to withstand attack by fire) is
the most remarkable property of asbestos board. The material
is incombustible and, when heated, changes its physico
mechanical but very slightly. The maximum temperature at
which asbestos board retains its structural and heat-insulat
ing properties is determined by the exposure time. For exam
ple, when heated to a temperature of 110°C, the material un
dergoes a 10% decrease in tensile strength; when heated to
368°C, the decrease is 20%. Still, this loss of strength is tem
porary. The heat-treated asbestos board after being held for
some time under normal conditions (ambient temperature
and air humidity) recovers its strength properties completely.
Thus, the asbestos material provides an effective heat insula
tion from the environment for surfaces heated to a tempera
ture as high as 500°C. When heated, asbestos board emits no
environmentally hazardous impurities. Its environmental
safety has been confirmed by a health monitoring certificate.
Refractories and Industrial Ceramics Vol. 42, Nos. 11 – 12, 2001
1083-4877/01/1112-0402$25.00 © 2001 Plenum Publishing Corporation
Beloyarskii Asbestos Board Factory (BABF) Joint-Stock Co.,
Beloyarskii, Ekaterinburg District, Russia.