Soot is a general term for the black particulate matter created by combustion. Optically and chemically it includes a complex
collection of different types of particles. All of the particles have a high carbon coordination number that results in the
black color. They typically include some of the original fuel, materials that are associated with the original fuel, or that
are associated with the original source. Common sources of soot in the home include smoking, fireplaces, furnaces, candles,
oil lamps, vehicle emissions, open burning, house fires, industial fires, electric heating elements, incandescent bulbs,
cooking, etc. There is never one source, though one source may dominate. Each source creates "signature" particles and large
numbers of particles that are much less characteristic. Problems associated with identifying the sources of soot are discussed
in an article on this site (Click here).