Cremation is facilitated by placing the body within its container into a cremation unit often called a retort (oven) and the use of a high-temperature burn (optimally 1800 to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit).
The length of time required for a complete cremation will be determined by the type of casket used, the size and weight of the individual going through the cremation process and occasionally by some of the drugs the individual has been on. A cremation can take anywhere from one and a half hours to between three or four hours.
When the cremation unit or retort is cleaned out we are left with mineral fragments retained in the dry bone. Once the cremation is completed the door is opened and the contents of the cremation unit or retort are swept into a metal box which is used to transport them to a table where a magnet is passed over them to remove all metal. They are then put into a processor which resemble a large commercial blender.
If the cremation is completed with enough heat for a long enough period of time the cremains or ashes will be ivory or bone coloured. If the cremation is not done hot enough and long enough the cremains or ashes will be some shade of gray indicating some contaminates. The colour of the cremains or cremated remains can from time to time be impacted by the drugs the individual has been on.
The question is often asked, how much cremains will we get back. No one could give you a definitive answer to that question because the primary factor is the density of the bone as it goes through the cremation process. By weight the end result of a cremation could see anywhere from 3 to 12 pounds of cremains returned to the family.
Following the cremation the crematorium will always put the cremains in some sort of container, the minimum being a plastic bag in a cardboard box. The fuel of preference in North America is usually oil fired or natural gas vaporization and oxidation to reduce the body to it’s basic chemical compounds, primarily calcium.