The key difference between asbestos and cement sheet is that asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral whereas cement sheet is an artificially made building material.
Asbestos is a mineral and cement sheets, or fibro are materials that are useful as building materials and are made up of asbestos and cement mixture. Here, asbestos is present in the fibrous form. The naturally occurring asbestos occurs as long and thin fibrous crystals.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is naturally occurring silicate mineral. There are six forms of this mineral; we collectively name as asbestos. Also, this material occurs as long, thin fibrous crystals. Each of these fibres contains fibrils. These fibrils are in the microscopic scale. Moreover, these fibrils easily move to the atmosphere via abrasion or by other processes. The crystal system of this mineral can be described as either orthorhombic or monoclinic because both these structures can be seen. This mineral has a white-grey appearance. The crystal habit is amorphous, and cleavage is prismatic. The fracture of asbestos is fibrous. It has a silky lustre, and the mineral streak is white.
Asbestos is widely used as a building material, mainly in roofing. However, it is well known for its health hazards. Therefore, in many countries, this material is banned and not allowed to be used as a building material. It is mainly because the inhalation of fibrils of asbestos can cause carcinogenic conditions such as asbestosis and lung cancer. Due to this reason, many materials came into usage as substitutes for asbestos.
What is Cement Sheet?
The cement sheet is a building material made from asbestos fibres. It is mainly important as a roofing material. Further, the cement sheet contains asbestos fibres and cement. In the production of cement sheet, thin, rigid cement is reinforced using asbestos to form cement sheets.
Moreover, this material is also an excellent substitute for some other building materials such as wood, brick, slate, stones, etc. We name this material as cement sheets because it is made as sheets or pipes, but we can mould it into any other shape as well. Also, the common name of this material in the market is “fibro”.
What is the Difference Between Asbestos and Cement Sheet?
Cement sheets are made of asbestos. Therefore, they are two different materials. The key difference between asbestos and cement sheet is that the asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral, whereas the cement sheet is an artificially made building material. Furthermore, when considering the composition of these materials, the asbestos contains microscopic fibrils of silicate mineral, while the cement sheets contain fibrous asbestos and cement.
Moreover, the asbestos is important for the production of building material, such as fibro, but the cement sheets are important as a building material, as a substitute for other building materials such as wood, brick, slate, stones, etc.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between asbestos and cement sheet.
Summary – Asbestos vs Cement Sheet
In brief, the cement sheets are made of asbestos. Therefore, they are two different materials. To sum it up, The key difference between asbestos and cement sheet is that the asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral, whereas the cement sheet is an artificially made building material.
1. X, Hanstacey. “Fibre Cement.” ABIS, 4 Sept. 2019, Available here.
2. “Asbestos Cement.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Sept. 2019, Available here.
3. “Asbestos.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Sept. 2019, Available here.