How Are Ashes Created?

September 6, 2018

Cremation isn’t anything new, and the practice dates back thousands of years according to archaeological records. The ashes of your loved one isn’t ash as we know it from a fire – that soft grey powdery stuff. Instead, it is a rather a coarse, gravel-like material which comes from the remains of bones. Today, bodies stay at cool temperatures while they wait for approval for cremation. But how are ashes created?

How are Ashes Created – In 2 or 3 Hours Your Body turns to Ashes

It takes roughly 2 or 3 hours for the body to burn completely. An adult body produces anything from a kilogram to about 4 kilograms of ash. It depends mostly on their bone structure.   A coroner must conduct a medical examination and sign the body off. He must remove all foreign bodies such as pacemakers and silicone implants from the remains. The body then goes into a container made of cardboard or the How Are Ashes Createdcheaper, more common wood brands.

The staff preheats the incinerator to about 593° Celsius. Then the container slides from a rack into the first cremation chamber – a retort.

These days family members can watch the cremation from a window. However, the crematory must be notified if anyone wants to see the casket placement. The intense heat will ignite the container and the body will catch the light, with the bones being the last to ‘break down.’

How Are Ashes Created –  Are You Getting the Right Ashes?

People often wonder if they can be sure that the ashes are the ones that come from their family member and not from somebody else. The funeral director will place an identification marker in the container with the body. That is to identify the remains once they are back at the funeral home. That step ensures that the family doesn’t land up with the wrong ashes.

Once the incinerating process is over, there is a cooling down period of about half an hour before anyhone can handle the bone fragments. From the cremation chamber the cremated remains move to a work area where staff remove that all kind of metal objects such as surgical pins. A machine then crush the bone fragments. These are the ashes. These ashes then go into a plastic bag in a temporary cremation container. The family then receives the ashes.

All cremations are individual except with the permission from close family members for joint cremation, and then only with the prior instructions in writing of the authorising agent.

In fact, cremating multiple bodies at once is illegal in most countries. And in the United Kingdom, for instance, cremation must take place with the combustible coffin. The Code of Cremation Practice also bans the opening of the coffin once it has arrived at the crematorium. Cremation must take place within 72 hours of the funeral service. In Germany, the cremation process is much the same as in the UK, and a piece of fire clay with a number on it identifies the remains of the body after burning.

Finally – The Funeral Director Collects the Ashes

People often stress about what happens to the ashes, but in fact, they transfer to the funeral director or a specific person with the correct identification. A Certificate of Cremation will be provided with the ashes, along with the name of the deceased and the date and place of the cremation. See overall regulations for South Africa regarding disposal of a human body here.

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All info was correct at time of publishing