Experimental study on the fuel requirements for the thermal degradation of bodies by means of open pyre cremation

Luis Yerman, Harrison Wall, Jeronimo Carrascal, Aidon Browning, Devduni Chandraratne, Christina Nguyen, Andy Wong, Tristan Goode, Daniel Kyriacou, Margaret Campbell, Julian Cao, Tam Do, Diana Casimiro-Soriguer, Andrea Lucherini, Sergio Zarate, Hons K. Wyn, Aaron Bolanos, Angela Solarte, Carmen Gorska, Ba-Dinh LeSon Tran, Quang Le, Jose L. Torero

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The results of a systematic study of open pyre cremation of bodies is reported here with the aim of providing quantitative information on the mechanisms controlling the cremation process and the relationship between the characteristics of a fire and the level of consumption of a body. Systematically constructed timber pyres and recently euthanized pig carcasses (as surrogates for human bodies) were used to establish the importance of fuel quantity, methodology of fuel application, body size and body arrangement. The results indicate that a fuel/body mass ratio greater than 9 is necessary to overcome the endothermic effect of the body on the pyre. Even with a fuel/body mass ratio of 9 and ideal burning conditions full destruction of all organic matter could not be attained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-73
Number of pages11
JournalFire Safety Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cremation of bodies
  • Incineration
  • self-sustained burning

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