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How is cremation performed?

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Quick Answer

Cremation is performed by placing a deceased, prepared human body into a cremation chamber and exposing it to temperatures between 1,800 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for one to three hours. This process vaporizes tissue and incinerates bone, reducing the remains to a silt-like powder.

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Full Answer

Preparation of a human body for cremation includes the removal of jewelry and pacemakers. Other items, such as orthopedic screws or metal dental work, are left in the body and retrieved after the cremation process. Embalming is not necessary for cremation unless the body is first displayed for viewing at a funeral wake or memorial service.

Once the body is placed in the cremation chamber, the chamber's 6-inch-thick door is closed and locked with a variety or latches or automated mechanisms to ensure a tight and secure seal. A crematory operator ignites the main burner, which is fueled by natural gas or propane. The chamber is made of fire-resistant bricks, and the floor is composed of a masonry compound that is specially formulated to withstand extreme temperatures.

After the cremation process is complete, the remains cool for a period of 30 to 60 minutes. Once cooled, remains are placed in an urn or other container chosen by a designated family member. Urns are kept privately in homes or buried in a niche within a cemetery memorial plot.

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