Charcoal has been made in England for hundreds of years, it was produced by placing pieces of wood piled on end in rows in a shape like a cone. This pile was then covered with soil or moist ashes with holes left in the top for a chimney and at the bottom for air to enter. The wood was allowed to burn very slowly. When completely burned, the holes were then covered and the pile of wood was allowed to cool. This method was not as effective as is today and only yielded about 30% pure charcoal.
Charcoal consists primarily of carbon and ash. This carbon consists of tiny, irregularly arranged particles of graphite, which is almost pure carbon. It also has some other impurities consisting of sulphur and hydrogen compounds. It is partially burned or charred wood thus the name charcoal.
Charcoal consists of carbon full of porous, which help in the complete and thorough burning of the substance.
When the wood is heated, the wood chemically decomposes and releases gases and tars. The resulting product is charcoal which is almost a pure form of carbon. The charcoal when burned releases an even hot flame, little smoke and burns almost completely. The only thing left is a little ash. It takes approximately 4 kg of wood to make a little more than 1kg of charcoal.
Some of the "charcoal briquette" manufactures do not use just charcoal. The blend their charcoal with by-products (which are refer to as "extenders") thus extending the amount of appeared charcoal. You can tell the difference quite easily. After the fire has been burned, look at the remaining ashes. If the ashes are heavy, then you are almost certainly removing clay and other particles called extenders. If the ashes are light, fluffy and almost want to float away when disturbed, then you have been burning true charcoal, but the chances of it being British is very small, it now comes from places like South America or South Africa.
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