What is Charcoal?

Wood is mainly a composite of three polymers, whose proportions in hardwood are as follows: Cellulose - 43%, Lignin - 22% and Hemi cellulose - 34%. The remaining 1% consists of resin and mineral substances. The latter yield ash upon combustion. Also associated with wood, is water absorbed or held as molecules on the cellulose.

 

Wood carbonization is the process by which wood is transformed into charcoal. It occurs in the absence of air (oxygen), or when air intake is restricted. The process occurs in four distinct phases, namely combustion, dehydration, exothermic reaction and cooling. All these phases occur at the same time in the kiln, but each log of wood has to pass through this four phase in sequence.

Charcoal quality is defined in terms of moisture content, volatile matter, fixed carbon and ash. These are termed as chemical properties. Physical properties relate to charcoal's resistance to fracture. 

 

 

Charcoal produced from Namibian hardwoods such as

  • Colophospermum mopane – Mopane

  • Dichrostachys cinerea – Sickle bush wood also known as Sekel Bos.

  • Acacia mellifera - Blackthorn.

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