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June 17, 2021 3 min read

When Michael Faraday, the renowned scientist who discovered the fundamental principles of electrochemistry and electromagnetic, looked up at a 700-person gathering in December 1860. He lit the big room by proclaiming his most remarkable example of nature's beauty: the modest candle.

Although Faraday's work directly contributed to breakthroughs like electric motors, transformers, and generators, he utilized lit candles to illustrate numerous chemical principles. "There is no greater, no more open entrance into the study of science than contemplating the physical phenomena of a candle," Faraday stated at the commencement of his last Chemical History of a Candle lecture series. "I trust, then, that I will not disappoint you by selecting this for my subject rather than any fresher topic, which could not be better if it were even that good."

So How Do Candles Work?

Candles provide light by generating heat through a chemical reaction known as combustion. Hydrogen and carbon atoms make up candle wax. When you light a candle, the heat melts the wax near the wick, causing it to be sucked up into the wick.

When the liquid wax is heated, it turns into a hot gas that splits down into molecules. These molecules are pulled into the flame and react with the oxygen in the air to produce heat, light, water vapor, and carbon dioxide.

The energy released during the combustion process causes the flame to radiate in various directions. The heat continues to rise, melting more wax. The flame will continue to burn until the wax burns out or the flame itself is extinguished.

The Parts of the Flame

Each part of the candle flame serves a purpose, intertwining with each to produce the characteristic glow we commonly glean from candles:

Blue Zone

The blue region of the flame is densely packed with oxygen. This is the region where hydrocarbon molecules evaporate and disintegrate into atoms. First, hydrogen separates, interacting with oxygen to produce water vapor. Carbon dioxide is also produced when carbon burns in the blue zone.

Brownish-Orange Zone

There is very little oxygen at the flame's following level. Carbon continues to degrade, resulting in the formation of hard particles. The particles ascend and mix with water vapor and carbon dioxide from the blue zone, heating everything roughly 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yellow Zone

Because the yellow zone is the most visible area of the flame, your eyes see it as primarily yellow. Carbon particles grow and continue to climb and heat up in the yellow zone. They eventually ignite and emit a whole spectrum of visible light. Near 2,192 degrees Fahrenheit, the soot particles oxidize at the top of the yellow zone.

The Outer veil

The blue border, often known as the veil, has the highest temperatures. The flame, which reaches temperatures of up to 2,552 degrees Fahrenheit, comes in direct contact with the air, resulting in a hazy blue hue.

Conclusion

Although the candle may seem like a humble instrument for creating light, the physics underlying it is incredibly intriguing. Lighting a candle is one of those strange things in life that we have grown so accustomed to that we have lost sight of how unique the entire process is. Not all candles are made equal, though. The next time you feel like picking up a candle, make sure to get a premium candle made out of soy wax made of renewable materials, compared to the traditional paraffin made of non-renewable petroleum byproducts. For a more curated selection of ourtin candles for sale and other fabulous soy candle gifts, feel free to browse through our catalog at Lovespoon candles!


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