What Is Candle Science? 7 Candle Science Points Explained

candle science

Candle science is the study of the science behind how a candle works, the history of candles, and what makes one candle better than another.

What is Candle Science?

Candle science is the study of how certain factors affect a candle’s performance. The main three factors that influence a candle’s quality and performance are the wax, the wick, and the fragrance.

In addition to these three main components, other factors include color, packaging, additives and any other chemical or material used in the candle.

The wax is what gives candles their shape and solid form. Candles are primarily made from paraffin (a petroleum by-product), beeswax (beeswax), soy (soybean oil) and palm (palm kernel oil).

A candle’s burn time depends on what type of wax it is made from. Paraffin wax has a long burn time, but can be messy and smoky when burned incorrectly. Beeswax is a cleaner burn than paraffin, but has a shorter burn time.

Palm wax can be used as an alternative to paraffin because it burns cleaner than paraffin but has a longer burn time than beeswax.

Soy wax can also be used as an alternative because it burns cleaner than paraffin but with a short burn time. Candles made from soy tend to have a stronger fragrance when burned properly.

The wick is responsible for carrying the fuel.

The wick of a candle material – What is it made of?

  • The wick is typically made of cotton, although other types of fabric or fibers can be used.
  • The wick is woven in a braid and then dipped into hot wax repeatedly so that it becomes stiff, which allows it to withstand the heat of the flame.
  • Wicks are often treated with a chemical flame retardant to keep their ends from burning too quickly and to help prevent candle fires.

How much wax does a candle use?

At its root, candle science is the study of how a candle burns. Candle scientists will tell you that the burn time of a candle depends on three things: type of wax, size, and exposure to air (draft).

  • How much wax does a candle use? It depends on the type and size of the candle. A standard scented pillar candle with a diameter of 3- inches uses about 1 oz of wax per hour. So if it took you 12 hours to finish burning your 12-oz candle, congratulations! You have above-average burn time!
  • What other factors affect burn time? A drafty environment can decrease the amount of time it takes for your wick to burn all its surrounding wax; this happens because exposure to air increases the flame’s temperature. In addition, if you’re burning multiple candles at once in close proximity (or keeping them too close together when storing), they’ll burn faster than usual due to their combined heat output.

How long do candles burn?

Simply put, the most important factors in candle burning are the wax type and density, wick diameter, flame size and temperature, as well as external conditions such as wind, humidity and air pressure.

Each of these factors affects the burn time of your candle.

Because different candles have different sizes (diameters) and therefore a different amount of wax present at all times during their burning, a general rule of thumb is to burn them for one hour for every inch in diameter.

If you have a larger candle (3″+), you can figure that it will take three hours or more to completely burn through that amount of wax.

That said, if you want to make sure your candle burns optimally and doesn’t develop any “tunneling” or other issues during its life cycle (i.e., getting burned unevenly or not fully), there are some other things worth considering:

Why are some candles unscented?

An unscented candle is crucial to people with scent allergies. A scented candle can trigger a reaction in some people, and they prefer the wax’s natural fragrance to any added scent.

Some people simply prefer the smell of their own home, or of the room they are in, to the additional scents an aromatic candle may include.

If you have a strong preference for your own home’s aroma, or if you have concerns about adding a new fragrance to an already established atmosphere, an unscented candle may be right for you.

What is a flame, and what makes it burn differently in different situations?

In order to understand candles and their flames, you first have to understand what a flame is.

First off, it’s important to remember that the flame is not the candle wax. A candle flame is a mixture of hot gases – it exists because there is heat (a source of energy), fuel and oxygen in the area around the wick.

The heat warms up the wax near the wick, melting it and turning it into vapor that rises from the surface of the candle. As this vapor rises, some of it combusts with oxygen in the air due to high temperatures caused by heat transfer from a nearby wick.

This combustion forms carbon dioxide (CO2) which then cools down into solid carbon particles and water droplets which turn black as they absorb light emitted by other parts of the flame.

What determines the color of the flame?

When you light a candle, you’re creating a chemical reaction that releases energy as heat and light. The type of fuel being burned determines the flame’s color.

As temperature rises, the flame changes from red to orange to yellow and then white. The hottest part of the candle flame is the blue center, where temperatures can reach about 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

What causes black smoke from a burning candle?

One of the most common problems in candle making is black smoke around the wick. This is caused by incomplete combustion.

The flame is not hot enough to completely burn all of the wax. This is caused by a lack of oxygen to the flame, which creates condensation inside of the candle and creates black soot (carbon) around the wick, on your jar and/or label.

Candle science involves many interesting questions about chemistry and physics.

Candle science involves many interesting questions about chemistry and physics. Some of them are:

  • How does a flame burn?
  • How do different waxes melt and burn at different rates?
  • What is best way to make the wicks in candles?
  • How can you ensure that when a candle burns, it doesn’t just make a big puddle of wax?
  • How can you get the most fragrance out of your candles while also making sure they burn properly? To answer these questions, we need to learn about some important properties of wax: what happens to wax when it’s heated up, how much heat is required for each type of wax to become liquid, how quickly does each type of wax cool down once it’s been heated up, how easily does each type of wax catch fire from an open flame (this is called its “flash point”), and how much heat energy is released when it burns.


Candle science is a way of characterizing candle flame. Originally, candle science was developed to examine the complex shapes of candle flames and how they related to candle shape, wick size, and thickness and material of the candle container.

Candle science is also used to describe the behavior of the burning candle flame—how heat is transferred in a candle flame, how temperature varies at different points in the flame, how gasses are emitted from the burning fuel, how flames move on undisturbed candles, etc.

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