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According to some sources, charcoal burns at temperatures as high as 2600 °C (Wikipedia), others (that seem less reliable) say around 1000 °C.

I know that it depends on the air flow, but how high of a temperature can normal charcoal (bought for BBQs) burn? Can it be used to melt metals with a melting point such as iron or steel?

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    $\begingroup$ Melting of steel is possible (how do you think steel was invented in the first place?), but requires special setup. 2600 °C seems unrealistic. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Sep 28 '16 at 11:32
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    $\begingroup$ The high value of 2600 °C probably corresponds to the adiabatic flame temperature of a certain charcoal in air (i.e. a theoretical temperature based on the heat of combustion of charcoal and the heat capacity of the involved gases, without any heat losses from the flame). $\endgroup$ – Loong Sep 28 '16 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ In open air at atmospheric pressure (BBQ) expect about 1000 °C or lower. It's enough to reduce iron, but not enough to melt it. That's why steel was first invented as porous substance, which must undergo thorough casting to form compact metal. In oxygen and specially constructed furnace about 1500 °C is expected. $\endgroup$ – sa7 Oct 3 '16 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps even 2000 in oxygen. But I doubt about any useful setup to obtain 2600 from burning charcoal. $\endgroup$ – sa7 Oct 3 '16 at 16:01

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