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What factors effect the burn time of candles?

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on 11 December 2014

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Transcript of What factors effect the burn time of candles?

What factors effect the burn time of candles?
By: Kate Downes
This experiment is to determine the factors that effect the rate at which a candle burns. It is to figure out if the color of the candle (white, ivory or red) and size of the candle (pillar and taper) effects the burn duration.
Candles can be proven to be used by the Ancient Egyptians all the way back to 3000 B.C. These candles did not have a wick, but burned them by soaking the pithy core of reeds in animal fat.

The Ancient Romans have the credit for creating the wick by repeatedly dipping rolled papyrus in melted tallow or beeswax.
A candle is a solid piece of wax with a wick that is inserted into the middle
The most commonly found wax that is used in candles is paraffin wax. This wax is hard, consisting of a mixture of solid straight-chained hydrocarbons having melting points from about 120ºF to 150ºF
The wicks job is to transport the wax (fuel) up to the flame. It works by capillary action
If a candle is tall and thin (taper candle) and has no color then it will have a faster hourly burn rate then pillar candles with no color.
solid at room temperature
liquid at a higher temperature
primarily hydrocarbon in structure
water repellent; insoluble in water
smooth texture; buffable under slight pressure
low toxicity; low reactivity and low odor
Scientists use the term wax to classify substances that have the following characteristics:
Another popular wax that is used is beeswax which is tiny scales of wax produced by bees.
Capillary is defined as a manifestation of surface tension by which the portion of the surface of a liquid coming in contact with a solid is elevated or depressed, depending on the adhesive or cohesive properties of the liquid.
This means that the wick draws the melted wax or fuel up to the flame to make it burn.
Most commonly used candles are taper and pillar
Pillar candles are sturdy and solid, they are fat and can be short or tall depending on the size
Taper candles are long and slim, they are not sturdy and must be held in a candle holder
Dyes are easily combustible opposed to pigments. Pigments are usually only used to color the outside of the candle because they clog the wick and stop the candle from burning.
ruler/tape measure
3 taper candle holders
pen and paper
5 plates
3 taper candles the same size and brand but different colors (red, white, and ivory
3 small pillar candles the same size and brand but differnt colors (red, white and ivory)
2 large pillar candles the same size, brand and color (ivory)
1. Measure and weigh all the candles to make sure that all the candles that are the same kind have the same weight and height. Record this data.
2. Set the pillar candles on plates. Put the candles in the same place that are 3 in. apart so the flame from another candle doesn't effect the burn of another candle.
3. Light the candles and start the timer for 4 hours. After the four hours are up, weigh all the candles and measure them. Record the data in the tables.
4. Put the candles back and light them again for another 4 hours. After those 4 hours are done weigh and measure them again, write down that information in the table.
5. Put the information into the mathematical formula to solve for hourly burn rate and approximate burn time.
6. Analyze data
Data and Observations
Analysis and Conclusion
Analysis and Conclusions
My hypothesis was correct, the taper candles with no color (white) had a faster burn rate, resulting in the candle burning faster.
Picture Citations
After completing this experiment I conclude that my hypothesis was correct.
I came to this conclusion by comparing the rates at which the two different types of candles burned at, showing that the pillar candles has a longer burn rate.
The red candles took a longer time to burn because of the dye that was used, clotting the wick and slowing down the capillary action
Analysis and Conclusion
Room for Improvement
eliminate all other factors.
Lighting all the candles at the same time
Be more precise in my measurements
Any other air movement (such as someone walking by the candles or opening the door)
Full transcript