Cremains: What Are They?

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Funeral Urns like these hold cremains - but what ARE cremains?Cremains. Perhaps you’ve heard the term lately when discussing funeral plans or if you’re handling your own pre-planning. What exactly are cremains and why do some people use that term instead of ashes? Take a minute today to read about the process behind cremation.

It’s the official portmanteau term for the cremated remains of the deceased, but most of the general public still refers to them as ashes, even though that’s a common misconception. So, what exactly is in the funeral urn that you’ve seen sitting on a friend’s mantle?

The reason that the industry shies away from calling them ashes is because they aren’t exactly ashes even though they have been cremated at high temperatures between 1800-2000 degrees F) for a couple hours. The fact remains that even though most of the body does burn away, there is still some bone fragments that remain.

Once the body has been reduced solely to bone pieces and the remains have cooled for about 30 minutes to an hour, then these bones hast be further processed to produce the final powder product that is giving to grieving families.

The remains are removed from the cremation chamber and transported to a worktable where the crematory operator removed any foreign material, such as screws or pins, from the remains by passing a magnet over the cremains to pull them out. They may also pull out larger metal pieces by hand.

Then the bone fragments are placed in a processor that contains blades at the bottom and pulverizes the bone pieces into the fine powder that most people associate with ashes. This final product is what is placed in an urn and given to the appropriate party.

So, you see, ashes aren’t really ashes at all, but rather, processed bone fragments, which is why most funeral directors refer to them as cremains, rather than ashes.

 

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