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Thread: What is ash made of?

  1. #1

    What is ash made of?

    When anything organic burns, it becomes carbon and when the carbon has burnt it becomes ash, so what is ash made of?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyperium View Post
    When anything organic burns, it becomes carbon and when the carbon has burnt it becomes ash, so what is ash made of?
    Carbon compounds and all sorts of other stuff originally present in the material.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    Carbon compounds and all sorts of other stuff originally present in the material.
    But ash is the leftovers from that which burns, so what other stuff doesn't burn? Is it possible to burn away all the ash?

    Is ash present when burning other things than organical stuff?

    I know that plastics just seems to turn liquid and to smoke.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyperium View Post
    But ash is the leftovers from that which burns, so what other stuff doesn't burn? Is it possible to burn away all the ash?

    Is ash present when burning other things than organical stuff?

    I know that plastics just seems to turn liquid and to smoke.
    "In the large majority of the real world uses of combustion, the oxygen (O2) oxidant is obtained from the ambient air and the resultant flue gas from the combustion will contain nitrogen:

    CH4 + 2O2 + 7.52N2 → CO2 + 2H2O + 7.52N2 + heat

    As can be seen, when air is the source of the oxygen, nitrogen is by far the largest part of the resultant flue gas.

    In reality, combustion processes are never perfect or complete. In flue gases from combustion of carbon (as in coal combustion) or carbon compounds (as in combustion of hydrocarbons, wood etc.) both unburned carbon (as soot) and carbon compounds (CO and others) will be present. Also, when air is the oxidant, some nitrogen will be oxidized to various nitrogen oxides (NOx)."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combustion

    Everything that's too heavy to get airborne stays behind as ash. It's largely carbon compounds.
    Mostly it's organics that will produce ash.

  5. #5
    Valued Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    "In the large majority of the real world uses of combustion, the oxygen (O2) oxidant is obtained from the ambient air and the resultant flue gas from the combustion will contain nitrogen:

    CH4 + 2O2 + 7.52N2 → CO2 + 2H2O + 7.52N2 + heat

    As can be seen, when air is the source of the oxygen, nitrogen is by far the largest part of the resultant flue gas.

    In reality, combustion processes are never perfect or complete. In flue gases from combustion of carbon (as in coal combustion) or carbon compounds (as in combustion of hydrocarbons, wood etc.) both unburned carbon (as soot) and carbon compounds (CO and others) will be present. Also, when air is the oxidant, some nitrogen will be oxidized to various nitrogen oxides (NOx)."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combustion

    Everything that's too heavy to get airborne stays behind as ash. It's largely carbon compounds.
    Mostly it's organics that will produce ash.
    It depends, of course, on what the original material was. A common one, wood, also leaves a fair amount of phosphorus and potassium compounds in the ash.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyperium View Post
    When anything organic burns, it becomes carbon
    "Organic" means carbon...

    Therefore anything "organic" that burns was carbon before it was burned.

    what is ash made of?
    Carbon and a bunch of other elements. Duh.

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Read-Only View Post
    It depends, of course, on what the original material was. A common one, wood, also leaves a fair amount of phosphorus and potassium compounds in the ash.
    Of course (see post 2)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by OilIsMastery View Post
    "Organic" means carbon...
    NO.

    or·gan·ic
    –adjective
    1. noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon.
    2. characteristic of, pertaining to, or derived from living organisms: organic remains found in rocks.
    3. of or pertaining to an organ or the organs of an animal, plant, or fungus.
    4. of, pertaining to, or affecting living tissue: organic pathology.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/organic

    car·bon
    –noun
    1. Chemistry. a widely distributed element that forms organic compounds in combination with hydrogen, oxygen, etc., and that occurs in a pure state as diamond and graphite, and in an impure state as charcoal. Symbol: C; atomic weight: 12.011; atomic number: 6; specific gravity: (of diamond) 3.51 at 20°C; (of graphite) 2.26 at 20°C.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/carbon

  10. #10
    Valued Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    Of course (see post 2)
    Yep, But I thought it might be of interest to the OP to know what some of the "other stuff" is.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Read-Only View Post
    Yep, But I thought it might be of interest to the OP to know what some of the "other stuff" is.
    Fair enough

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    NO.

    or·gan·ic
    –adjective
    1. noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon.
    2. characteristic of, pertaining to, or derived from living organisms: organic remains found in rocks.
    3. of or pertaining to an organ or the organs of an animal, plant, or fungus.
    4. of, pertaining to, or affecting living tissue: organic pathology.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/organic

    car·bon
    –noun
    1. Chemistry. a widely distributed element that forms organic compounds in combination with hydrogen, oxygen, etc., and that occurs in a pure state as diamond and graphite, and in an impure state as charcoal. Symbol: C; atomic weight: 12.011; atomic number: 6; specific gravity: (of diamond) 3.51 at 20°C; (of graphite) 2.26 at 20°C.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/carbon
    Seriously, borrow a clue.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/organic

    b (1): of, relating to, or containing carbon compounds (2): relating to, being, or dealt with by a branch of chemistry concerned with the carbon compounds of living beings and most other carbon compounds
    Last edited by OilIsMastery; 07-24-08 at 05:38 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Read-Only View Post
    Yep, But I thought it might be of interest to the OP to know what some of the "other stuff" is.
    Yeah, thanks

    I just stumbled upon the question when I thought about how fascinating it was that when things burn you can see what it is made of (carbon based) since it doesn't burn as easily , then I just wondered what all the ash was.

    So the other things are turned into gas (and smoke), but ash are the things that just simply won't burn.

    If you heated it tremendously it would burn though (right?), how tremendously would you need to heat ash for it to burn? - depends on the things in it of course, but generally?

  14. #14
    Registered Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyperium View Post
    Yeah, thanks

    I just stumbled upon the question when I thought about how fascinating it was that when things burn you can see what it is made of (carbon based) since it doesn't burn as easily , then I just wondered what all the ash was.

    So the other things are turned into gas (and smoke), but ash are the things that just simply won't burn.

    If you heated it tremendously it would burn though (right?), how tremendously would you need to heat ash for it to burn? - depends on the things in it of course, but generally?

    Ash is basically a residue resulted from an incomplete combustion. What are ash
    made of is basically depends on:
    1. the element that composed the material that you burn (of course).
    2. the oxygen available for the combustion
    3. the temperature you use for the combustion.

    That is said, if the material composed of organic (including organic carbon)
    and anorganic (including anorganic carbon), and you burn with insufficient
    oxygen, you will likely get the organic carbon, anorganic carbon (carbon in
    anorganic compound) and the rest of the anorganic (minerals) in the ash.
    If you increase the oxygen until it is more than its stoichiometric requirement,
    you can burn all the organic carbon as well. However, if the temperature is
    low enough, you will still get the anorganic carbon and other anorganic /
    minerals in the ash.

    Here is an example of ash composition resulted from combustion of different
    woods and different temperature (600 vs 1300 oC):



    Table source: Misra et. al, 1993, "WOOD ASH COMPOSITION AS A FUNCTION OF FURNACE TEMPERATURE" (pdf).
    Last edited by Sciencelovah; 07-25-08 at 05:01 AM. Reason: made mistake on carbon

  15. #15
    Registered Senior Member
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    4,349
    As an additional note, as Read-Only mentioned before:

    Quote Originally Posted by Read-Only View Post
    It depends, of course, on what the original material was. A common one, wood, also leaves a fair amount of phosphorus and potassium compounds in the ash.

    Because ash mostly composed of mineral residue (that is the minerals which
    compose the original material but left unburnt), such as phosphorous (P) and
    potassium (K), such ashes are often used as fertilizer because it contains
    nutrient needed for plant growth (N, P, K, etc). It is also common to use ash
    for potash production, provided the ash contain potash (K) mineral.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by OilIsMastery View Post
    lol COMPOUNDS, not carbon. Carbon is an element, it's NOT organic.

    I used to think you were just a trolling asshole, now I'm starting to think you are just an arrogant dumb shit.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    Carbon is an element, it's NOT organic.
    No shit...lol. I know.

    Tell that to vitalists, organic chemists, and biogenic petroleum geologists.

    I used to think you were just a trolling asshole, now I'm starting to think you are just an arrogant dumb shit.
    Good scientific argument. I love ad hominem attacks because they make you look like a moron.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by OilIsMastery View Post
    No shit...lol. I know.

    Tell that to vitalists, organic chemists, and biogenic petroleum geologists.
    Then why did you say Carbon = organic ?

    Quote Originally Posted by OilIsMastery View Post
    Good scientific argument. I love ad hominem attacks because they make you look like a moron.
    Now you know why I call you one.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Enmos View Post
    Then why did you say Carbon = organic ?
    I don't say that; vitalists, organic chemists, and biogenic petroleum geologists say that.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by OilIsMastery View Post
    I don't say that; vitalists, organic chemists, and biogenic petroleum geologists say that.
    Then what is this:
    Quote Originally Posted by OilIsMastery View Post
    "Organic" means carbon...

    Therefore anything "organic" that burns was carbon before it was burned.


    Carbon and a bunch of other elements. Duh.

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