Aeronautical engineers use their engineering knowledge in order to help in the manufacturing and research of missiles, space satellites, and aircrafts. They may also test these items in the field. The four fields associated with this career are design, manufacture, research, and maintenance. Engineers in design may have little contact with the actual aircraft, but those in maintenance have the greatest risk of asbestos exposure, since they work directly with the engines and other equipment that may contain the mineral.

Asbestos was commonly used due to its excellent ability to insulate against heat and fire and its resistance to caustic chemicals and electrical current. Materials containing asbestos were often considered safe if they remained solid. Regardless of this precaution, asbestos is known to become friable, or powdery, with age. This is problematic as the fibers are then able to become airborne and then be ingested or inhaled by the victim. Second-hand exposure is also possible when the fibers became lodged in the hair or clothing of the worker and then transported to that individual’s home and family.

Asbestos and Aeronautical Engineering

Asbestos was often used in aircrafts because it is highly fire-resistant and lightweight. During work on areas such as brake shoes, the engine, the fuel tank, or clutch pads, it is possible for the engineer to come into contact with the material. Despite knowledge regarding the detrimental effects of asbestos on the body, proper precautions have often been neglected when it comes to protecting the employees and workers who have been employed in areas containing asbestos.

Diseases caused by asbestos, including a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma, may take several decades to occur. Because of this latency period, the worker may not be able to successfully connect the condition with the previous exposure to asbestos. Methods for treating this disease are being studied, though early detection allows the highest chance for an increased survival rate among patients. If an individual believes that he or she has been exposed to asbestos while working as an aeronautical engineer, he or she should consult with a physician to be tested and examined immediately.

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