When the term friable is used in an environmental capacity, it is generally referring to asbestos being friable. When something has friability, it means it can be reduced to smaller pieces from a solid substance with very little effort. It is opposite of something being indurated. Many substances are called friable when they are dangerous or hazardous and have the capability of being reduced to small pieces, with asbestos being a common one. This means that asbestos in the walls or ceilings of a structure can crumble and these small particles that break away can get into someone’s lungs, which is a dangerous health risk.
Concrete is not Friable
The reason why harder substances like concrete are not considered friable is because it generally takes a machine and a lot of effort to ground it down into smaller pieces or into mineral dust. Friability must be able to be ground down or made into smaller pieces easily and with little effort. There are other substances that increase in their friability when they are exposed to sunlight or other forms of ultraviolet radiation, such as polyurethane foam. Friability in a substance can be from slight pressure, the sunlight, brushing against the substance in friction, or other small acts.