soot, black or dull brown deposit of fine powder resulting from incomplete combustion of fuel of high carbon content, e.g., coal, wood, and oil. It consists chiefly of amorphous carbon and tarry substances that cause it to adhere to surfaces. Soot obtained from coal also contains sulfur and ammonia. See carbon black.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.