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Structural imperfection and morphology of crocidolite (blue asbestos)

Naturevolume 266pages520521 (1977) | Download Citation



ELECTRON microscopic studies of fibrous materials, including a range of chain silicates1–6, synthetic polymers7 and carbon fibres8, have almost exclusively involved examination of the structural characteristics visible when the fibre axis is perpendicular to the electron beam. It is extremely difficult to prepare ultra-thin sections of fibrous samples such that this axis is parallel to the beam; and yet it is in this projection that the greatest insights into structural and morphological irregularities are likely to be achieved, a fact well illustrated by the high-resolution studies of Yada9 on chrysotile asbestos which, being less brittle than crocidolite and other amphiboles, was amenable to the normal techniques of ultra-microtomy. We present here preliminary results of a successful axial study of crocidolite (blue asbestos), the fibrous form of the amphibole mineral riebeckite (idealised formula Na2Fe5(Si4O11)2(OH)2, space group C2/m, a = 0.973, b = 1.806, c = 0.533 nm, β = 103.3°). The electron micrographs reveal several novel features.

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  1. Edward Davies Chemical Laboratories, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, UK

    • , J. L. HUTCHISON
    • , D. A. JEFFERSON
    •  & J. M. THOMAS
  2. Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Complutense, Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid, 3, Spain



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