Asbestos Density Testing - Water Absorption TestingProviding fast asbestos density / water absorption testing throughout the UK
What is Asbestos Density / Water Absorption Testing?
It is sometimes very difficult to tell if asbestos material is an asbestos cement or an asbestos board. Sometimes this can be due to age, deterioration, or just the type of material. The only way to tell what type of asbestos material you are dealing with is to have the density of the material tested. This testing involves measuring how much water the material can absorb over a period of time. This is known as the Water Absorption Test (WAT) or Asbestos Density Test.
The asbestos legislation is very clear on what material is classed as and is dependent upon the results of this test. That’s why this is the only test that absolutely confirms whether an asbestos product is an asbestos cement or asbestos board product. If you’re not sure or there is any doubt as to the classification of an asbestos material, then you must have an asbestos density/water absorption test carried out prior to working on these materials. This will ensure that the risk assessment and control measures are correct.
Why should I have Asbestos Density / Water Absorption Testing?
The risks from asbestos cement and asbestos boarding differ greatly. Asbestos boarding is a licensed material and any work undertaken on this type of product requires an HSE licence. Asbestos cement can delaminate and age to such a degree that the product can change in classification. A good example of this is when asbestos cement becomes highly damaged, such as during a fire or where open to the elements for a very long time. Asbestos cement can in these circumstances cease to be classed as cement and become classified as an asbestos board product due to its change in density. This means that a lower risk asbestos cement product has just become a much higher risk, licensed product and therefore is now subject to the asbestos licensing requirements of the regulations. This is why if there is any question as to a materials classification, you must have density/water absorption testing to confirm what material you may be working on or disturbing / disposing of.
How does Oracle carry out Asbestos Density / Water Absorption Testing?
Once the sample has been taken or received by Oracle, it is initially analysed to confirm the presence of asbestos and types of asbestos fibre present. Once this has been confirmed, the sample is then checked to ensure it is dry. If required, the sample is carefully dried in a suitable and safe environment. Once dried, the sample is carefully weighed using accurate scales. The sample is then fully immersed in water for a set period of time. The sample is then re-weighed. Once the results of the weighed sample are recorded, the total amount of water that has been absorbed by the sample is calculated. It is from this result that the density of the material is calculated.
In accordance with HSE guidance, if the percentage of water absorbed is less than 30% by material weight than the asbestos product is classified as asbestos cement. If however, the percentage of water absorbed is greater than 30% by material weight, then the asbestos product is classified as an asbestos board and is therefore subject to the asbestos licensing regulatory requirements.
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