What's the Purpose of the Wick in A Birthday Candle?

Sep. 23, 2021

All candles, they have a long wick in the centre - this wick is usually made of cotton thread. Yesterday for my sister's birthday, I held a lotus flower musical candle and saw the tiny black wick inside. The number birthday candle on the other side also had a wick emerging from the top of its head. I got caught up in thinking, what is the purpose of the wick?


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Let's recall for a moment how candles burn.

A candle burning is not the burning of a paraffin solid, but the ignition device ignites the wick and the heat given off causes the paraffin solid to melt and then vaporise to produce paraffin vapour, which is combustible. When the candle is lit the flame is initially small and gradually becomes larger, the flame is divided into three layers (outer flame, inner flame and flame centre).

The flame centre is mainly candle vapour, the temperature is the lowest, the inner flame is not fully burning paraffin, the temperature is higher than the flame centre, as there are some carbon particles, the outer flame is in full contact with the air, the flame is the brightest, fully burning, the temperature is the highest.

The moment the candle is blown out, a wisp of white smoke can be seen. Using a burning match to light this wisp of white smoke can cause the candle to reignite, so it can be proven that the white smoke emitted is the solid tiny particles produced by the cold solidification of paraffin vapour. Come to MAXWILL to see more.


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So what happens afterwards?

The main component of a candle is paraffin wax, which we all know. Paraffin wax itself is combustible and can burn without a wick. But without a wick, when you light the top of a paraffin stick, the paraffin on top melts and covers the paraffin below, insulating it from the air and making it difficult for the paraffin below to burn. So a candle without a wick will go out on its own when it is lit.

If a cotton wick is added, the burning wick is hotter than the burning paraffin wax, so that the paraffin wax at the top melts quickly and becomes a puddle of paraffin oil. The wick is able to absorb the paraffin oil and the topmost melted wax oil is vaporised by the high temperature of the burning cotton wick, which does not prevent the paraffin wax below from continuing to melt, vaporise and burn away. This is why candles should have wicks.

The wick has "capillary siphoning properties" and is able to suck the liquid from below to a higher level . The role of the wick is to use the high temperature of the flame to vaporise the fuel absorbed by the wick little by little, so that the flame burns steadily .


To summarise: the role of the wick is to provide a way for the hot wax liquid to rise so that the paraffin can vaporise in the flame and then mix with the air and burn. It is difficult to get the heavy wax oil to burn directly. Please contact us here and get your birthday candles.


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