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The dark, porous, carbonized residue left after the destructive distillation of bituminous coal, Petroleum or coal-tar pitch. Coal can be converted to coke by heating it in an airless oven to drive off all volatile components. Coke was once made in large quantities as a byproduct when coal was burnt to produce methane. The process for using coke in smelting was developed by Abraham Darby in Coalbrookdale in the 17th century. Because coke burns hotter than coal, it aided expansion of the cast-iron production as well as allowed new developments in metallurgy and steel production, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. Coke can also be converted to Graphite.

Synonyms and Related Terms

coque (Esp.); coke (Fr., Ned.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Density 1.0-1.7

Resources and Citations

  • J.Winter, "The Characterization of Pigments Based on Carbon" Studies in Conservation, 28:49-66, 1983.
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 213
  • Walter C. McCrone, John Gustave Delly, The Particle Atlas, W. McCrone Associates, Chicago, IV, 1972
  • The Dictionary of Art, Grove's Dictionaries Inc., New York, 1996 Comment: "Iron and Steel"
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: density=1.0-1.7