Four Questions You Didn't Know You Had About Candles

Four Questions You Didn't Know You Had About Candles
Hey, everyone! Kelly here, Operations Manager for Paddywax Candle Bar. I've been part of this incredible brand for two years now, and one of the most fun parts of my job has been taking a deep dive into the world of candle science. I'll admit, I honestly had no idea how candles even worked before I joined the PCB squad. These days, I can rattle off a whole slew of candle facts. (Some of them are useful, ALL of them are interesting. Hit me up if your trivia team needs an extra member.) 
Read on for my favorite candle facts, guaranteed to make you a hit during your next virtual happy hour or video conference call. 
1. Why does a candle flame flicker?

Flames of all sorts flicker when they receive either too much fuel or too much air. A candle flame flickers while burning when carbon particles from the wick escape before they get a chance to combust! (I'll bet you weren't thinking about carbon molecules during that recent candlelit date night.)

2. How does a candle flame get its upside-down teardrop shape?

Your favorite candle works by melting the wax in the center, which is then "sucked up" the wick as the hot air rises. Next, the wax is vaporized by the flame, turning into a hot (and fragrant!) gas that diffuses into the air. As heat rises and cool air replaces it, the flame is drawn into that classic inverse teardrop shape. (Bonus fact: The hottest part of a candle flame–the blue section at the base of the wick–can reach up to 2500 degrees Fahrenheit.)

3. Can a candle burn in space?

When astronauts lit candles on the International Space Station, they found that the resulting flames were perfectly spherical in shape, not that typical teardrop. This is because there's no gravity in space to cause cold air to sink and hot air to rise. (You won't regret looking up the photos if you're a science and/or candles nerd like me. Or if you've already burned through half of Netflix during self-isolation and have nothing left to do but wash your hands.) 

4. Is the first burn really that important?

YES! If you want to get the most out of your candle, don't rush that first burn. Allow your candle to pool across the entire surface the first time you light it. This can take up to 4-5 hours for larger candles, but it's well worth the wait. It prevents tunneling (uneven burning) and will ensure that your candle lasts as long as possible. (And if you want to help your candle live its VERY best life, trim the wick to a quarter inch before each burn!)
I love adding hot new candle facts to my arsenal, so drop me a line below if you have other fun info to share. Cheers to lifelong learning! 
- Kelly

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published