What are the physical properties of the wax in a burning candle?

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ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Candle wax is basically the fuel that allows a candle to burn for long periods of time.  Wax is composed of long chains of carbon and hydrogen that form waxy solids at room temperature and can be readily molded into any shape or configuration.  The wick in the center of the candle is lit with a flame.  The heat from the flame melts the candle wax close to it into a liquid that can be drawn into the candle wick fibers.  The candle wax hydrocarbons are fuel for combustion, or the process of heat and oxygen combining with the fuel in a highly exothermic reaction to produce heat, gasses, and water vapor.  The candle continues to burn as long as there is candle wax present to feed the flame.

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