What Makes A Candle Burn?

How Candles Burn.

When you light a candle, the heat of the flame melts the wax near the wick.

This liquid wax is then drawn up the wick by capillary action.

The heat of the flame vaporizes the liquid wax (turns it into a hot gas), and starts to break down the hydrocarbons into molecules of hydrogen and carbon.

Why did my candle catch on fire?

Secondary Ignition This is a common cause of candle cause of candle fires. Contaminants in the wax pool can act as secondary wicks, increasing the amount of flame present, leading to the whole wax pool catching fire. Candle fires are more likely with high fragrance content.

What burns the wax or the wick?

When you light the wick on a candle, the heat melts the wax in the wick and at the top of the candle. This liquid wax is drawn up the wick by capillary action, getting hotter and hotter until it turns into a gas. This gas mixes with oxygen in the air and is ignited by the flame that melted the wax in the first place.

Is wax flammable?

Fire only happens when a flammable gas is mixed with oxygen. So, once you light the wick of the candle, the heat is enough to melt the wax around it, the liquid wax soaks up into the wick, and once it’s inside the fire, it breaks down, forms flammable gasses, mixes with air, and burns, feeding the flame.