Cremation, a process of transforming human remains into ashes, has become a popular alternative to traditional burials in recent years. While it has been practiced for centuries, advancements in technology and changing attitudes towards death and dying have contributed to its increasing popularity.

For those considering cremation, it’s crucial to understand the process involved and what happens to the casket and ashes. One common question many have is whether the casket is burned during cremation. The answer is yes, and it serves a vital purpose in protecting the body during transportation and cremation.

However, there is much more to the cremation process than just burning the casket. This article will provide an overview of the cremation process, including what happens to the casket and the ashes after the procedure is complete, offering readers a comprehensive understanding of this increasingly popular end-of-life option.

Casket during Cremation

Caskets are an essential part of the cremation process as they protect the body during transportation and cremation. They are designed without combustible parts, such as screws or handles, to prevent incidents during the process. Burning bodies inside caskets also protects staff from diseases like Tuberculosis.

Sealing the deceased inside a casket ensures there won’t be any accidents during transportation, and cremating bodies in caskets maintains the deceased’s dignity and respect. Manufacturers design caskets not to leave much behind during the cremation process, and the ashes received are broken down bone fragments from the loved one, not the casket.

Funeral directors close and label the casket before sending it off for cremation, and they remove pacemakers, implants, and other medical devices before cremation to prevent accidents. Clothing and jewelry should also be removed before cremation to prevent damage to the equipment.

Cremation Process

During the process, the deceased is placed into a chamber that reaches high temperatures for several hours until only bone fragments remain. The cremation chamber, also known as a retort, is typically made of heat-resistant materials such as refractory bricks and insulation.

The chamber is preheated to a temperature of around 1600 degrees Fahrenheit (871 degrees Celsius) before the casket is placed inside.

Once the casket and the body are inside the chamber, the temperature is raised to between 1800-2000 degrees Fahrenheit (982-1093 degrees Celsius). This temperature is maintained for a period of two to three hours until the body is completely reduced to ash and bone fragments.

After the cremation process is complete, the bone fragments are allowed to cool before being processed.

Cremation alternatives, such as water cremation or alkaline hydrolysis, have become more popular in recent years due to their lower environmental impact.

Handling Ashes

Despite the common belief that all remains are turned into ashes during the cremation process, there are often fragments left behind such as dental fillings, metal implants, and other non-bone materials that morticians must dispose of. These fragments can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly, so morticians go through the remains with a magnet to attract any leftover pieces of metal for disposal or recycling. Once all non-bone materials are removed, remaining bone fragments are ground to the consistency of ash.

After the cremation process, families have various options for the disposal or keeping of their loved one’s ashes. One common method is to keep the ashes in an urn, which can be made of various materials such as metal, wood, or ceramic. Another option is to scatter the ashes, which can be done in a location that held special meaning to the deceased or with the permission of a landowner. It is important to note that laws and regulations regarding scattering ashes vary by location, so it is important to research and follow local guidelines.

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