The Analytical Process

In Australia, all states and territories require that the analysis of asbestos be carried out by a laboratory NATA specifically accredited for the analysis of asbestos (or similar as approved).
Initial examination of the sample is carried out under a stereo microscope to isolate suspected asbestos fibre or fibre bundles from within the sample.

The sample may need to be ashed, to remove excessive organic fibre from the sample, or to disintegrate the matrix around the sample. Materials which may need to be ashed include samples such as settled dust, vinyl tiles, mastics, adhesives etc.

Suspect fibres are mounted onto microscope slides in liquids of a specific refractive index depending on the type of asbestos being assessed. If the fibre is asbestos and mounted in the correct refractive index liquid, then specific optical properties will be displayed when viewed under the a variety of conditions using the polarised light microscope.