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Photographic gallery.  Thousands of particles under the microscope.
Charred Wood and ash from a House Fire View through a Microscope

Charred Wood and ash from a House Fire

There are a number of charred hardwood fragments from the wood used in furnature or for decoration from this home along with ash and more recent skin flakes and other common household particles. Many of the particles in the background are ash. This was from an environmental tapelift collected in a home after remediation from a house fire.

Transmitted Off Crossed Polarized Light and Reflected Darkfield Illumination


Charring or coking of wood tends to retain the structure of the wood. As a result the genus or even the species of the wood can often be determined from an examination of the structure still evident. There is a reduction in the size of the structures of about 20% typically. The fully ashed wood is colorless and very finely divided.

Significance in the Environment:

Many types of wood are used in a wood structure building. The studs and structural beams in a wood building are often Douglas fir or Pine. This wood is often the dominant type of charred wood in the burnt building. The finish woods are generally hardwoods though Cedar and Pine are also used as a common paneling in some regions. Baseboard molding and other decorative wood structures tend to be hardwood.

Characteristic Features:

Associated Particles: