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Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

Where Does the Wax Go When a Candle Burns?

Where Does the Wax Go When a Candle Burns?

The wax that doesn’t drip down the side of a burning candle turns into a gas that produces the bright flame. When the candle wick is set on fire, the heat causes some of the wax to melt. The melted wax soaks up the wick. When the wax reaches the center of the flame, it becomes so hot that it turns to a gas.

The gas moves outward in the flame and burns brightly. When you blow out a candle, the force of your breath carries the heat of the flame away from the wick. The temperature of the wick cools until it is too low for the candle to burn.

Approximately one-fourth of the energy created by a candle’s combustion is given off as heat radiates from the flame in all directions. Enough heat is created to radiate back and melt more wax to keep the combustion process going until the fuel is used up or the heat is eliminated.

It takes a few minutes when you first light a candle for this combustion process to stabilize. The flame may flicker or smoke a bit at first, but once the process is stabilized, the flame will burn cleanly and steadily in a quiet teardrop shape, giving off carbon dioxide and water vapor.

Content for this question contributed by Maria Wagner, resident of Marinette, Wisconsin, USA