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October 15, 2021 3 min read

When a candle is lit, the fragranced solid wax slowly melts away. As this substance melts away, you may also find yourself wondering about the exact science of what happens to it. 

So today, we will delve into the chemistry of the chemical events that occur when the candle wax is heated. In addition, we discuss other critical issues, such as candle safety and how to extend the life of your candle. Here’s what happens to wax after it is burned:

Understanding Wax Combustion

Paraffin is a form of wax made up of carbon atoms surrounded by hydrogen atoms. When combustible hydrocarbons combine, they become entirely flammable hydrocarbons. This is why when wax comes into touch with a flame, it melts.

The heat from the flame vaporizes the hydrocarbon molecules in the wax, which then reacts with the oxygen in the air. Because of its adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension, a porous substance defies gravity as it vaporizes and consumes wax. Simply put, as long as the flame comes into touch with the capillary action-absorbing wick, the flame will consume the wax from your candle.

Because the flame emits both light and heat, a portion of the energy produced by combustion is lost as heat. This heat keeps the reaction going, and it vaporizes wax to keep it burning and melting until there is no wax left or there is insufficient heat to melt it.

The heat initiates an interaction between hydrocarbons and oxygen, producing CO2, water, energy, and light. Even after a candle has been lit and water has been discharged, the air may still feel dry. As the temperature rises, the air can hold more water vapor.

Apprehension to Wax Inhalation

When a candle is lit, it solely emits carbon dioxide and water into the atmosphere. While a continuous, teardrop-shaped flame is efficient, a flickering flame can generate oscillations in the flame, resulting in smoke wisps or soot. 

A smoldering flame, on the other hand, is nothing to be concerned about. The melted wax from your candle travels very little and is focused around the flame. In other words, it's entirely safe!

While using a paraffin wax candle is entirely safe, paraffin is a petroleum by-product. Toluene, a known carcinogen, is released when paraffin wax is burned. Note that even a trace of petroleum by-product can be harmful to the environment, if not to ourselves. 

Instead, go for a plant-based wax such as the eco-friendly soy wax, which is carbon neutral, renewable, and sustainable.

No-Smoke Smooth-Melting Wax

While candle wax is meant to evaporate, it should not be simply thrown away. Yes, you can make the most of your candles' 60-80-hour burn times by figuring out different burning methods. 

For example, you can burn down a candle with a steady teardrop flame, consuming less wax. This way, you can enjoy its fragrance for a much more extended period and get your money’s worth!

Conclusion

You know what they say: Knowledge is power. When it comes to buying your favorite scented candles, it is also essential to understand how to use them efficiently and sustainably. As you enjoy burning your fragranced wax, you must also enjoy learning about the science and chemistry behind it. The more you know about them, the better you will be at choosing the right candle options for your personal use.

Are you looking foreco-friendly candles? Lovespoon Candles, awarded as the Best Online Candle Company, offers a large selection of premium soy candles in various decadent scents. Order yours today!


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