ash, in chemistry, solid residue of combustion. The chemical composition of an ash depends on that of the substance burned. Wood ash contains metal carbonates (e.g., potassium carbonate) and oxides formed from metals originally compounded in the wood. Coal ash usually has a high content of minerals and is sometimes contaminated with rock; during combustion the mineral matter may become partially fused, forming cinders or clinker. Bone ash is largely made up of calcium phosphate. Seaweed ash (called kelp or varec) contains sodium carbonate, potassium carbonate, and iodine that can be extracted. Fly ash is very fine ash produced during the combustion of many materials.
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