charcoal

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charcoal,

substance obtained by partial burning or carbonization (destructive distillationdistillation,
process used to separate the substances composing a mixture. It involves a change of state, as of liquid to gas, and subsequent condensation. The process was probably first used in the production of intoxicating beverages.
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) of organic material. It is largely pure carboncarbon
[Lat.,=charcoal], nonmetallic chemical element; symbol C; at. no. 6; interval in which at. wt. ranges 12.0096–12.0116; m.p. about 3,550°C;; graphite sublimes about 3,375°C;; b.p. 4,827°C;; sp. gr. 1.8–2.1 (amorphous), 1.9–2.3 (graphite), 3.
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. The entry of air during the carbonization process is controlled so that the organic material does not turn to ash, as in a conventional fire, but decomposes to form charcoal.

The most common variety of charcoal, wood charcoal, was formerly prepared by piling wood into stacks, covering it with earth or turf, and setting it on fire. In this process volatile compounds in the wood (e.g., water) pass off as vapors into the air, some of the carbon is consumed as fuel, and the rest of the carbon is converted into charcoal. In the modern method, wood is raised to a high temperature in an iron retort, and industrially important byproducts, e.g., methanolmethanol,
 methyl alcohol,
or wood alcohol,
CH3OH, a colorless, flammable liquid that is miscible with water in all proportions. Methanol is a monohydric alcohol. It melts at −97.8°C; and boils at 67°C;.
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 (wood alcohol or wood spirit), acetoneacetone
, dimethyl ketone
, or 2-propanone
, CH3COCH3, colorless, flammable liquid. Acetone melts at −94.8°C; and boils at 56.2°C;. It is the simplest aliphatic ketone.
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, pyroligneous acidpyroligneous acid
, a dark liquid that is essentially a mixture of acetic acid and methanol (wood alcohol) and is obtained in the destructive distillation of wood. It once served as a commercial source of acetic acid.
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, and acetic acidacetic acid
, CH3CO2H, colorless liquid that has a characteristic pungent odor, boils at 118°C;, and is miscible with water in all proportions; it is a weak organic carboxylic acid (see carboxyl group). Glacial acetic acid is concentrated, 99.
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, are saved by condensing them to their liquid form. Air is not really needed in the carbonization process, and advanced methods of charcoal production do not allow air to enter the kiln. This results in a higher yield, since no wood is burned with the air, and quality is improved. Charcoal is also obtained from substances other than wood such as nut shells and bark; that obtained from bones is called bone black, animal black, or animal charcoal.

Charcoal yields a larger amount of heat in proportion to its volume than is obtained from a corresponding quantity of wood and has the further advantage of being smokeless. The greatest amount is used as a fuel. Charcoal is often used in blacksmithing, for cooking, and for other industrial applications. One of the most important applications of wood charcoal is as a component of gunpowdergunpowder,
explosive mixture; its most common formula, called "black powder," is a combination of saltpeter, sulfur, and carbon in the form of charcoal. Historically, the relative amounts of the components have varied.
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. It is also used as a reducing agent in metallurgical operations, but this application was diminished by the introduction of cokecoke,
substance obtained by the destructive distillation of bituminous coal. Coke bears the same relation to coal as does charcoal to wood. A hard, gray, massive, porous fuel, coke is the solid residue remaining after bituminous coal is heated to a high temperature out of
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. A limited quantity is made up into the form of drawing crayon. Bamboo charcoal is the principal ingredient in sumi-e, a form of Japanese ink painting that uses only black ink in various concentrations.

Because of its porous structure, finely divided charcoal is a highly efficient agent for filtering the adsorption of gases and of solids from solution. It is used in sugar refining, in water purification, in the purification of factory air, and in gas masks. Wood charcoal can remove coloring agents from solutions, but this is accomplished more efficiently by animal charcoal. By special heating or chemical processes the adsorptive property can be greatly increased; charcoal so treated is known as activated charcoal.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Charcoal

 

a drawing material made from charred wood, mainly twigs or sticks of linden, willow, and other trees. Hard pressed charcoal, made from charcoal powder with an added gum, became popular in the 19th century. Charcoal is widely used for finished drawings and preliminary sketches. It is valued because its stroke has a velvety texture and because it combines lines and tonal effects.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

charcoal

[′chär‚kōl]
(materials)
Also known as char.
A porous solid product containing 85-98% carbon and produced by heating carbonaceous materials such as cellulose, wood, or peat at 500-600°C in the absence of air.
The residue obtained from the carbonization of a noncoking coal, such as subbituminous coal, lignite, or anthracite.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

charcoal

1. a black amorphous form of carbon made by heating wood or other organic matter in the absence of air: used as a fuel, in smelting metal ores, in explosives, and as an absorbent
2. a stick or pencil of this for drawing
3. a drawing done in charcoal
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In traditional hookahs, smokers burn charcoal on top of a tobacco preparation known as ma'ssel, a mixture of tobacco, glycerin, water, and flavourings.
A Saudi businessman has expressed keen interest to set up a charcoal manufacturing plant in Mindanao by the last quarter of the year, according to the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah.
2 Buy good-quality charcoal Try to buy good-quality, sustainably produced charcoal - look for charcoal made from coppiced wood or Forestry Commission-approved wood.
This was succeeded by a higher production in August, with 1, 830-kilograms of waste it produced 61 kilograms of charcoals.
Traditional fluorine removal agents include alumina, natural zeolite, and rare earth while the new adsorbent with good adsorption effects is calcium aluminate slag, aluminum sulfate modified bamboo charcoal, and bone charcoal [18-23].
Any organic wastes, human and livestock excretions, straw, leaf litter, grass, sewage, rice husk charcoal, and wood ash were employed as fertilisers and soil conditioners, not only in agriculture but also for gardening.
Charcoal is one of those uncomplicated substances that attract believers in self-care and prevention.
Nieva, now 45, and her colleagues, had been producing the charcoals since 2012 under a different group.
Use of biochars in Shimajiri maji soil decreases nitrate-N in percolating water by denitrification of the nitrate-N and adsorption of ammonium-N by charcoal (Chen and Shinogi 2005).
Another way to control heat is to mound the charcoals to one side of the grate, then move foods from the hot to the cool sides as needed.