Cremation can be generally described as a method used to reduce the dead body of a human or animal down to its basic elements. The most common method of cremation involves incineration at high temperatures. This process uses a combination of high-temperature burning, vaporization, and oxidation, which reduces the body to its basic compounds. During this thermal-based process, any organic matter (including tissue and bone) is converted to gases and mineral fragments that resemble dry bone.
Alkaline hydrolysis is another alternative cremation process. This process uses water, potassium hydroxide, relatively low heat (177° Celsius, 350° Fahrenheit), and pressure to reduce the body to bone fragments and an inert liquid.