Where does wax go when a candle burns?
We are back with a very interesting story in your chemistry tuition. Every one of you must have seen candles burning. Ever wondered where the wax goes when the wax is burning? Let your chemistry tuition find the answer for you. When a candle burns, one thinks that the candle has disappeared during the process. But, in fact, these substances do not disappear. They just change their forms. Combustion is a chemical change which takes place in the presence of oxygen. During this process the matter is neither created nor destroyed. It simply changes its form. This is known as the law of indestructibility of matter. When a candle burns, the wax simply changes into other substances. The moment we burn the candle’s wick, the wax starts melting because of heat. The melted wax rises to the wick on account of the phenomenon called surface tension. Surface tension is a property of liquids. Due to this property a blotting paper soaks ink. The liquid wax, then changes into a gas. This gas starts burning during which heat and light are produced.
The wax is a complete hydrocarbon which contains hydrogen and carbon. During the burning process, the carbon combines with oxygen of the air and forms carbon dioxide gas. The hydrogen of the wax combines with the oxygen of the air and forms water vapor. In these two reactions, the wax is consumed and as a result candle’s size goes on decreasing. If we collect and weigh the water vapor and carbon dioxide formed during the process, their weight would be more than that of the original candle. The increase in the weight results due to the combination of oxygen with carbon and hydrogen. So, we see that wax is not destroyed when a candle burns, but it only changes to carbon dioxide and water vapor.
We hope you enjoyed this lesson from chemistry tuition. We will be back with more such interesting findings in our next chemistry tuition.
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