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asbestos silicate chain graphic

(above) asbestos image #1: double chain of silicate: computer graphic on black. This image is 400 pixels across, the original image is 2048 pixels across and lacks all labels.

asbestos: silicate chain on textured background

(above) asbestos image #2: double chain of silicate as found in asbestos (e.g. blue asbestos or crocidolite): computer graphic of model on textured blue background. This image is 400 pixels across, the original image is 2048 pixels across and lacks all labels.

asbestos silicate chain graphic

(above) asbestos image #3: double chain of silicate: computer graphic diagonal double chain of silicate on black. This image is 400 pixels across, the original image is 2048 pixels across and lacks all labels.

asbestos silicate chain graphic

(above) asbestos image #4: double chain of silicate: computer graphic of long double chain silicate on black. This image is 400 pixels across, the original image is 2048 pixels across and lacks all labels.

silicate

(above) asbestos image #5: silicates are negative ions consisting of Silicon (Si) and Oxygen (O). The "unit" is a tetrahedral (tetrahedron shown in green) arrangement of one silicon (yellow) atom surrounded by four oxygen (red) atoms

KEY:
  • yellow spheres = silicon (Si)
  • red spheres = oxygen

EXPLANATION OF ASBESTOS IMAGES: Asbestos is a form of silicate. The hazardous fibrous material consists of very long chains of silicon and oxygen (polysilicate or long chain silicate) with the general formula: (Si 4 O116-)n (please see images 1-4). Silicon and oxygen combine in a tetrahedral fashion, with a silicon atom surrounded by four oxygen atoms (please see image #5).

In the silicate chains some of the oxygen atoms are shared and the result is a chain of hexagons (please see images 1-4). These chains occur in huge parallel arrays with various ions sandwiched between them. It is these very long, hard and inert chains of silicon and oxygen that give asbestos its fibrous and resistant nature. It seems that this very unyielding structure is what interferes with cellular function and causes certain health problems associated with asbestos.




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