Asbestos is the name of a group of six naturally occurring silicate minerals:
Chrysotile (White Asbestos) Actinolite
Amosite (Brown Asbestos) Anthophyllite
Crocidolite (Blue Asbestos) Tremolite
However only three types (white, brown and blue) were commercially
exploited in the UK.
It has a great range of properties:
Resistant to fire
Resistant to High Temperatures
Resistance to Acids and Alkalis
Resistance to Electric Current
Can repel Water (Dependent on Asbestos Type)
Tensile strength similar to Steel,
There are over 3000 recorded uses for the material.
It has a massive downside though. All forms of asbestos are Category One
the number of deaths is rising; it is not expected to peak until 2025.
* Link to HSE website