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Klingerite - asbestos age

Klingerite - asbestos age

Klingerite is the commercial name of the sealing material of the German company Klinger, patented by its founder Richard Klinger as early as 1898. This unique material of its time acquired its specific properties by using chryzotil asbestos fibers (so-called white asbestos). Asbestos is highly heat and chemical resistant, and Klingerite contained 70-90% of it. This enabled it to function as a versatile sealing material with a wide range of applications.

However, its distribution is now banned in the European Union due to the health hazards of asbestos. Klingerite has been replaced by other materials such as:

Composition of sealing plates

  Asbestos (Klingerite) Fiber-rubber (asbestos-free)
Threads 70 - 90 % 15 %
Binder 5 - 20 % 25 - 40 %
Fillers 5 - 20 % 40 - 60 %

Compared to Klingerite, today´ s asbestos-free boards have a different composition with a higher ratio of binders. In particular, elastomers (SBR, NBR,...) are used as binders, which themselves have a lower temperature resistance ending at approximately 150 °C.

The dangers of asbestos

The problem with asbestos is its long and thin fibres, which are so small that they are invisible to the naked eye and have no smell. When inhaled, the fibres go deep into the lungs, where they do not decompose but settle for a long time. Overtime, the asbestos particles cause a reaction in the body that can result in asbestosis (scarring of the lungs) or lung cancer.

Banning asbestos

The dangers of asbestos materials were first warned about it 1898 by British inspector Lucy Dean, who warned of respiratory and lung diseases in workers who were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis. However, her warnings were initially downplayed. It was not until 1991 that asbestos was first banend in the European Union, and only 5 of its types. The particular chryzotil used in Klingerite was not banned, but only regulated. The extension of the ban to include chryzotil came in 1999 with an amendment to the Dangerous Substances Directive 76/769/EEC.

Replacement of Klingerite

Klingerite is now being replaced by other sealants such as graphite, fibre rubber materials or Teflon. The appropriate material is selected based on application parametrsr such as temperature, pressure and medium. The most versatile material today is graphite, which has the larrgest temperature range of application and even surpasses Klingerite in the range of applicable parameters.

Installation of Klingerite and new materials

The Klingerite gasket was once easy to install. The flange joint was enough to knock of the "blood". The materials that replaced it required a different approach to assembly. For these reasons, the requirement for training of flange joint installers to EN 1591-4, which discusses these procedures, came to the fore.

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