Safe fibres

fine ceramic fibres have been in use in a variety of forms since a long time. Finer fabrics are strong, flexible and, unlike coarser fibres, they do not irritate the skin. But in recent times, the question of ceramic fibre use has returned to haunt us as a major health issue. Ceramic fibres finer than 1 micron in diameter are known to be carcinogenic and fibres finer than 3 microns can be inhaled.

Working towards achieving the desirable properties of finer ceramic fibres in an absolutely safe product, scientists and chemists at the Warwick Process Technology Group, University of Warwick, uk , seem to have addressed the problem. They have developed a process which can manufacture a range of these high-technology ceramic materials free from both dangerously fine fibres as well as coarse fibres that cause irritation ( Spectrum , September-October 1999).

The Fibres Research Group at Warwick uses the Sol Gel blow-spinning technique, which is configured to produce even finer fibres