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Encyclopedia > Charcoal

Charcoal is the blackish residue consisting of impure carbon obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. It is usually produced by heating wood in the absence of oxygen (see char), but sugar charcoal, bone charcoal (which contains a great amount of calcium phosphate), and others can be produced as well. The soft, brittle, light, black, porous material is 85% to 98% carbon, the remainder consisting of volatile chemicals and ash, and resembles coal. General Name, Symbol, Number carbon, C, 6 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 14, 2, p Appearance black (graphite) colorless (diamond) Atomic mass 12. ... Phyla Subregnum Parazoa Porifera Subregnum Eumetazoa Placozoa Orthonectida Rhombozoa Radiata (unranked) Ctenophora Cnidaria Bilateria (unranked) Acoelomorpha Myxozoa Superphylum Deuterostomia Chordata Hemichordata Echinodermata Chaetognatha Xenoturbellida Superphylum Ecdysozoa Kinorhyncha Loricifera Priapulida Nematoda Nematomorpha Onychophora Tardigrada Arthropoda Superphylum Platyzoa Platyhelminthes Gastrotricha Rotifera Acanthocephala Gnathostomulida Micrognathozoa Cycliophora Superphylum Lophotrochozoa Sipuncula Nemertea Phoronida Ectoprocta Bryozoa... Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants, and is, by far, the most abundant biotic element of the biosphere. ... Trunks A tree trunk as found at the Veluwe, The Netherlands Wood is derived from woody plants, notably trees but also shrubs. ... General Name, Symbol, Number oxygen, O, 8 Chemical series Nonmetals, chalcogens Group, Period, Block 16, 2, p Appearance colorless (gas) very pale blue (liquid) Atomic mass 15. ... Charring is a process of incomplete combustion that often occurs when biological tissue (living or dead) is subjected to heat. ... Bone char, also known as bone black or animal charcoal, is a granular black material produced by calcinating animal bones: the bones are heated to high temperatures in the absence of air to drive off volatile substances. ... Calcium phosphate is the name given to a family of minerals containing calcium ions (Ca2+) together with orthophosphates (PO43-), metaphosphates or pyrophosphates (P2O74-) and occasionally hydrogen or hydroxide ions. ... Coal Coal (IPA: ) is a fossil fuel extracted from the ground by underground mining or open-pit mining (surface mining). ...


The first part of the word is of obscure origin, but the first use of the term "coal" in English was as a reference to charcoal. In this compound term, the prefix "chare-" meant "turn", with the literal meaning being "to turn to coal". The independent use of "char", meaning to scorch, to reduce to carbon, is comparatively recent and must be a back-formation from the earlier charcoal. It may be a use of the word charren, meaning to turn, i.e., wood changed or turned to coal; or it may be from the French charbon. A person who manufactured charcoal was formerly known as a collier, though the term was used later for those who dealt in coal, and the ships that transported it. In etymology, the process of back-formation is the creation of a neologism by reinterpreting an earlier word as a compound and removing the spuriously supposed affixes. ...


Production

Wood pile before covering it by turf or soil, and firing it (around 1890)
Wood pile before covering it by turf or soil, and firing it (around 1890)
Modern charcoal retorts
Modern charcoal retorts

Production of wood charcoal in districts where there is an abundance of wood dates back to a very remote period, and generally consists of piling billets of wood on their ends so as to form a conical pile, openings being left at the bottom to admit air, with a central shaft to serve as a flue. The whole pile is covered with turf or moistened clay. The firing is begun at the bottom of the flue, and gradually spreads outwards and upwards. The success of the operation depends upon the rate of the combustion. Under average conditions, 100 parts of wood yield about 60 parts by volume, or 25 parts by weight, of charcoal; small scale production on the spot often yields only about 50%, large scale was efficient to about 90% even by the 17th century. The operation is so delicate that it was generally left to professional charcoal burners. These often worked in solitary groups in the woods and had a rather bad social reputation, especially traveling ones who often sold a sack (priced at about a day's wage) with lots of rubbish mixed in to farmers and townsfolk. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1513x911, 437 KB) en: de: Fertiggestellter Meiler. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1513x911, 437 KB) en: de: Fertiggestellter Meiler. ... 1890 (MDCCCXC) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar). ... Image File history File links Charcoal_retorts_cm01. ... Image File history File links Charcoal_retorts_cm01. ... A flue is a pipe or channel for conveying exhaust gases from a fireplace, furnace, boiler, or generator. ...


Historically the massive production of charcoal (at its height employing hundreds of thousands, mainly in Alpine and neighbouring forests) has been a major cause of deforestation, especially in Central Europe, but to a lesser extent even before, as in Stuart England. The increasing scarcity of easily harvested wood was a major factor for the switch to the fossil-fuel equivalents, mainly coal and brown coal for industrial use. Deforestation is the conversion of forested areas to non-forest land use such as arable land, urban use, logged area or wasteland. ... Coal Coal (IPA: ) is a fossil fuel extracted from the ground by underground mining or open-pit mining (surface mining). ... Coal Coal is a fossil fuel extracted from the ground by mining. ...


The modern process of carbonizing wood either in small pieces or as sawdust in cast iron retorts is extensively practiced where wood is scarce, and also by reason of the recovery of valuable byproducts (wood spirit, pyroligneous acid, wood tar), which the process permits. The question of the temperature of the carbonization is important; according to J. Percy, wood becomes brown at 220°C, a deep brown-black after some time at 280°, and an easily powdered mass at 310°. Charcoal made at 300° is brown, soft and friable, and readily inflames at 380°; made at higher temperatures it is hard and brittle, and does not fire until heated to about 700°. Cast iron usually refers to grey cast iron, but can mean any of a group of iron-based alloys containing more than 2% carbon (alloys with less carbon are carbon steel by definition). ... A retort. ... Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol or wood alcohol, is a chemical compound with chemical formula CH3OH. It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colourless, tasteless, flammable, poisonous liquid with a very faint odor. ... Pyroligneous acid, also called wood vinegar or mokusaku, is a dark liquid produced by the destructive distillation of wood. ...


Uses

One of the most important historical applications of wood charcoal is as a constituent of gunpowder. It is also used in metallurgical operations as a reducing agent, but its application has been diminished by the introduction of coke, anthracite smalls, etc. A limited quantity is made up into the form of drawing crayons; but the greatest amount is used as a fuel, which burns hotter and cleaner than wood. Charcoal is often used by blacksmiths, for cooking, and for other industrial applications. Smokeless powder Gunpowder, whether black powder or smokeless powder, is a substance that burns very rapidly, releasing gases that act as a propellant in firearms. ... Coke is a solid carbonaceous residue derived from low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal. ... Anthracite coal Anthracite is a hard, compact variety of mineral coal that has a high luster. ... Wax crayons A crayon is a stick of colored wax, charcoal, chalk, or other material used for writing and drawing. ... Fuel is any material that is capable of releasing energy when its chemical or physical structure is changed or converted. ... Trunks A tree trunk as found at the Veluwe, The Netherlands Wood is derived from woody plants, notably trees but also shrubs. ... A blacksmith A blacksmith at work A blacksmith at work A blacksmiths fire Hot metal work from a blacksmith A blacksmith is a person who creates objects from iron or steel by forging the metal; i. ...


Commercially, charcoal is often found in either lump, briquette or extruded forms. Lump charcoal is made directly from hardwood material usually produces far less ash than briquettes. While some briquettes are made from a combination of charcoal (heat source), brown coal (heat source), mineral carbon (heat source), borax (press release agent), sodium nitrate (ignition aid), limestone (uniform visual ashing), starch (binder), raw sawdust (ignition aid) and possibly additives like paraffin or lighter fluid to aid in lighting them, other "natural" briquettes are made solely from charcoal and a binder. Extruded charcoal is made by extruding either raw ground wood or carbonized wood into logs with the use of a binder. The heat and pressure of the extruding process hold the charcoal together. If the extrusion is made from raw wood material, the extruded logs are then subsequently carbonized. A briquette (or briquet) is a block of flammable matter, such as escaillage, which can be used to start a fire. ... Beech is a typical temperate zone hardwood The term hardwood designates wood from angiosperm trees. ... Coal Coal is a fossil fuel extracted from the ground by mining. ... It has been suggested that Sodium boric acid be merged into this article or section. ... Inhalation respiratory irritation Skin May cause irritation. ... This article is about the waxy mildly combustible substance. ...


The characteristics of charcoal products (lump, briquette or extruded forms) varies widely from product to product. Thus it is common misconception to stereotype any kind charcoal, saying which burns hotter and etc. A briquette (or briquet) is a block of flammable matter, such as escaillage, which can be used to start a fire. ...


The porosity of activated charcoal accounts for its ability to readily adsorb gases and liquids; charcoal is often used to filter water or adsorb odors. Its pharmacological action depends on the same property; it adsorbs the gases of the stomach and intestines, and also liquids and solids (hence its use in the treatment of certain poisonings). Charcoal filters are used in some types of gas mask to remove poisonous gases from inhaled air. Wood charcoal also to some extent removes coloring material from solutions, but animal charcoal is generally more effective. Activated carbon from a water filter used for carbon filtering in powder and block form Activated carbon, also called activated charcoal or activated coal, is a general term which covers carbon material mostly derived from charcoal. ... In chemistry, adsorption of a substance is its concentration on a particular surface. ... In anatomy, the stomach (in ancient Greek στόμαχος) is an organ of the gastrointestinal tract involved in the second phase of digestion, following mastication. ... In anatomy, the intestine is the portion of the alimentary canal extending from the stomach to the anus and, in humans and other mammals, consists of two segments, the small intestine and the large intestine (or colon). ... Belgian 1930s era L.702 model civilian mask A gas mask is a poo worn on the face to protect the body from airborne pollutants and toxic materials. ...


Animal charcoal or bone black is the carbonaceous residue obtained by the dry distillation of bones; it contains only about 10% carbon, the remainder being calcium and magnesium phosphates (80%) and other inorganic material originally present in the bones. It is generally manufactured from the residues obtained in the glue and gelatin industries. Its decolorizing power was applied in 1812 by Derosne to the clarification of the syrups obtained in sugar refining; but its use in this direction has now greatly diminished, owing to the introduction of more active and easily managed reagents. It is still used to some extent in laboratory practice. The decolorizing power is not permanent, becoming lost after using for some time; it may be revived, however, by washing and reheating. General Name, Symbol, Number magnesium, Mg, 12 Chemical series alkaline earth metals Group, Period, Block 2, 3, s Appearance silvery white Atomic mass 24. ... An animal glue is an adhesive that is created by prolonged boiling of animal connective tissue. ... Gelatin (also gelatine) is a translucent brittle solid substance, colorless or slightly yellow, nearly tasteless and odorless, which is created by prolonged boiling of animal skin, connective tissue or bones. ... For the overture by Tchaikovsky, see 1812 Overture; For the wars, see War of 1812 (USA - United Kingdom) or Patriotic War of 1812 (France - Russia) For the Siberia Airlines plane crashed over the Black Sea on October 4, 2001, see Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 1812 was a leap year starting... In cooking, a syrup (from Arabic شراب sharab, beverage, via Latin siropus) is a thick, viscous liquid, containing a large amount of dissolved sugars, but showing little tendency to deposit crystals. ... Magnification of typical sugar showing monoclinic hemihedral crystalline structure. ...


Charcoal is used in art for drawing, making rough sketches in painting, and is one of the possible media for making a parsemage. It must usually be preserved by the application of a fixative. Artists generally utilize charcoal in three forms: Drawing (verb) is the act of making marks on a surface so as to create a visual image of a form or a shape. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... Surrealism in art, poetry, and literature utilizes numerous unique techniques and games to provide inspiration. ... A fixative is a liquid, similar to varnish, which is usually sprayed over a finished piece of artwork to better preserve it and prevent smudging. ...

  • Vine charcoal
Vine charcoal is created by burning sticks of wood (usually willow or linden/Tilia) into soft, medium, and hard consistencies. Bamboo charcoal is the principal tool in Japanese Sumi-e (炭絵 lit: charcoal drawing) art.
  • Compressed charcoal
Compressed charcoal is charcoal powder mixed with gum binder compressed into round or square sticks. The amount of binder determines the hardness of the stick. Compressed charcoal is used in charcoal pencils.
  • Powdered charcoal
Finely powdered charcoal is often used to "tone" or cover large sections of a drawing surface. Drawing over the toned areas will darken it further, but the artist can also lighten (or completely erase) within the toned area to create lighter tones.

One additional use of charcoal rediscovered recently is in horticulture. Although American gardeners have been using charcoal for a short while, research on Terra preta soils in the Amazon has found widespread use there by natives to turn otherwise unproductive soil into very rich soil. Species About 350, including: Salix acutifolia - Violet Willow Salix alaxensis - Alaska Willow Salix alba - White Willow Salix alpina - Alpine Willow Salix amygdaloides - Peachleaf Willow Salix arbuscula - Mountain Willow Salix arbusculoides - Littletree Willow Salix arctica - Arctic Willow Salix atrocinerea Salix aurita - Eared Willow Salix babylonica - Peking Willow Salix bakko Salix barrattiana... Species About 30; see text Tilia is a genus of about 30 species of trees, native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere, in Asia (where the greatest species diversity is found), Europe and eastern North America; it is absent from western North America. ... This article is about the plant. ... Autumn Landscape (Shukei-sansui). ... A binder is a material used to bind together two or more other materials in mixtures. ... A couple of very simple pencils A pencil is a handheld instrument used to write and draw, usually on paper. ... Terra preta (which means dark soil in Portuguese), refers to expanses of very dark soils found in the Amazon Basin. ...


Sources, references and external links

  • Natural History of Europe - 2005 TV co-production including BBC and ZDF
  • On Charcoal
  • The Valley - BBC TV - one year of life on a 17th century farm reenacted by archaeologists and historians
  • The Lump Charcoal Database - Information about lump charcoal.
  • H E Z Organisation - Information about charcoal in Germany.
  • How charcoal briquettes are made.
  • Bamboo Charcoal - Information about bamboo charcoal.
  • [1] - Information about charcoal.
  • Photo of traditional charcoal production A forest kiln
  • The River Wey and Wey Navigations Community Site — a non-commercial site of over 200,000 words all about the Wey Valley and includes a photo file on charcoal production and information relating to gunpowder manufacture at Chilworth.
  • [2] Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland, USA, includes interpretive features ("Charcoal Trail", etc) on the history of charcoal making in the area.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Charcoal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1204 words)
Charcoal is the flish residue consisting of impure carbon obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances.
Charcoal made at 300° is brown, soft and friable, and readily inflames at 380°; made at higher temperatures it is hard and brittle, and does not fire until heated to about 700°.
The porosity of activated charcoal accounts for its ability to readily adsorb gases and liquids; charcoal is often used to filter water or adsorb odors.
Felbridge History Group - Charcoal (6201 words)
Charcoal, the fl residue of wood produced by smothered burning, has been used in Britain since before the Roman invasion and was the smelting fuel of the Bronze and Iron ages.
Charcoal, as a fuel, for hop drying and domestic heating and cooking, was less demanding, and general-purpose charcoals include, alder (Alnus glutinosa), ash (Fraxinus excelsior), beech (Fagus sylvatica), birch (Betula pendula), elm (Ulmus procera), hazel (Corylus avellana) and sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa).
Charcoal is a naturally occurring form of carbon, which burns with intense heat, and also has chemical properties that enable it to be used to extract metals from their ores.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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