Combustion 101

When you strike a match and light the candle’s wick, what happens? Below are a few of the physical and chemical processes that occur in the operation of a burning candle.


Diffusion: 

Liquid wax diffuses into the wick saturating the cotton fibers.

diffusion

Capillary Action:

The fuel moves up the wick as it is consumed through the process of capillary action.

Vaporization of Fuel:

The flame’s heat vaporizes the liquid fuel to begin the combustion process.

Vaporization of Fuel

 


Incomplete Combustion:

All candle flames have varying degrees of complete and incomplete combustion.

 

Fuel Reduction:

Mushrooming, carbon capping, or carbon deposits are the result of unburned fuel and soot accumulating on the end of the wick.

 

Ideal Complete Combustion:

All combustion takes place on the outside edge of the flame where oxygen and heat are at their maximum.

CO2 + H2O + Heat + Light


When you strike a match and light the candle’s wick, what happens? Below are a few of the physical and chemical processes that occur in the operation of a burning candle.


Diffusion: 

Liquid wax diffuses into the wick saturating the cotton fibers.

diffusion

Capillary Action:

The fuel moves up the wick as it is consumed through the process of capillary action.

Vaporization of Fuel:

The flame’s heat vaporizes the liquid fuel to begin the combustion process.

Vaporization of Fuel

 


Incomplete Combustion:

All candle flames have varying degrees of complete and incomplete combustion.

 

Fuel Reduction:

Mushrooming, carbon capping, or carbon deposits are the result of unburned fuel and soot accumulating on the end of the wick.

 

Ideal Complete Combustion:

All combustion takes place on the outside edge of the flame where oxygen and heat are at their maximum.

CO2 + H2O + Heat + Light