What Is Charcoal?

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Aun Jafery Profile
Aun Jafery answered
Charcoal is believed to mean something like turning to coal. Charcoal is a kind of fuel that is obtained by burning wood and other plant and animal matter in the absence of sufficient air. The process results in providing a residue of impure carbon. It is however a better form of fuel then wood by itself as the carbon content is higher. It contains as much as eighty to ninety per cent carbon. But not all the wood or other material gets converted to charcoal. By weight the charcoal that is obtained is a quarter of the weight of the wood and two thirds its original size in volume. This is because the water and other volatile material content gets removed during the process of burning.
Rajesh Shri Profile
Rajesh Shri answered
The blackish residue of impure carbon that is left behind by removing the water and volatile content from animal and vegetable remains is called charcoal. It is usually produced by burning timber in the absence of oxygen. Another form called bone charcoal contains large amounts of calcium phosphate. Charcoal is the soft, brittle and black material which is porous, with 85% to 98% carbon. The remaining residue is nothing but volatile chemicals and ash.

Wood charcoal is an important component of gunpowder. It is also used as a reducing agent in metallurgy and is now in competition with replacements such as coke and anthracite. Charcoal is also used in the form of crayons for drawing. Larger amounts are used as precious fuel. Charcoal as fuel is known to burn more and cleaner than traditional wood. Charcoal is also used by blacksmiths to smelt metals and for cooking in rural areas. The largest application is in the industry furnaces.

Today, charcoal is also used in horticulture. Although gardeners have been using charcoal for quite some time now, the research on the Amazonian terra preta soils has added to the importance of charcoal in horticulture. The soil is rich in this natural residue and is known to turn otherwise unproductive soil into very rich and fertile soil.

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