A process by which organic substances such as wood, coal, and oil shale are decomposed by heat in the absence of air and distilled to produce useful products such as coke, charcoal, oils, and gases.
(click for a larger image)destructive distillation
In the destructive distillation of powdered coal, heated coal turns to coke, ammonia dissolves in water to form an ammoniacal liquor, and coal gas and coal tar are produced.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
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