In detail



Surname: Charcoal
other names: Charcoal
mineral class: Elements
chemical formula: C
Chemical elements: Carbon
Similar minerals: Hard coal
colour: black
shine: Matt
crystal structure: /
mass density: 1,4
magnetism: not magnetic
Mohs hardness: 2 - 2,5
stroke color: black
transparency: opaque
use: Fuel

General information about charcoal:

charcoal describes a fuel that results from the strong heating of dry wood under high temperature and low air supply. This forms a solid material that is composed as an organic mixture of up to ninety percent carbon and small amounts of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and ash. Charcoal is characteristically black in color and of a porous and loose texture. In contrast to the raw material wood, the final product charcoal results in a much higher calorific value.
Charcoal can either originate in nature or be created by human hands. Charcoal has been formed in the wild since the existence of land-based plants and wood-derived plants, over 420 million years ago. The growth of such land plants created ideal conditions for vegetation fires, which often developed into smoldering fires as a result of the lack of air supply. Wildfires could be triggered by volcanic eruptions and the associated sparking as well as by lightning strikes before humans colonize the earth. Over the course of millions of years, wood pellets deposited in sediments, caves and deep layers of soil, were broken up into smaller pieces or ground into powdered form by environmental wine flows.

Occurrence and localities:

As naturally occurring material, charcoal is found all over the world. It is believed that even the early humans found rotten wood and consciously used it as charcoal in order to use it as a heat source. This happened long before humans mastered techniques to make themselves fire. The oldest charcoal fire pits were found in South Africa and Kenya and are over 1.4 million years old. It was not until the Pleistocene that our ancestors' development had progressed so far that man-made charcoal was deliberately used to prepare and harden tools, to warm the bearings and to heat and preserve foods, thereby making them edible. This material has been the main energy source in everyday life for many millennia.

Use of charcoal:

Today, charcoal is still produced under exclusion of air and high temperatures, using huge brick kilns in factories. The vast majority of the world's charcoal, estimated at more than 40 million tons annually, comes from factories in developing and emerging countries of South America and Eastern Europe. Charcoal plays an important role in the production of black powder in pyrotechnics, as fuel for grilling, as so-called activated carbon in water filters and for clarifying various liquids such as high-percentage spirits, as a disinfectant and as a charcoal and ink component. Activated carbon is also used in medicine to filter out toxins from the digestive tract as part of the charcoal tablets, thereby treating diarrhea and poisoning in a gentle way. In the food industry, it is used under the name E 153 as a dye to dark color confectionery, coatings and concentrates.