Candles were first made with innovation, skill and a certain sort of fascinating ingenuity that has only continued to evolve over the years. This capacity for evolution is why candles have continued to persist and abide in the global markets in spite of every obstacle they faced in demand. When the electric light bulb was first introduce, candles suffered significantly in popularity and sales, however now there is an increased demand for candles, many people have begun to wonder about candles; and one of the things they want to know is how hot a candle is.
HOW HOT IS A CANDLE?
Candles are made of two main parts, which are the candle wax and the candle wick. The candle wax is formed from a collection of processes, particularly two main ones: melting and cooling. Melting is of the first processes of making candle wax; in this process, the candle wax is first heated until all of it have melted and during this process, it is stirred in order to achieve a smooth consistency. The temperature at which this heating process should be terminated varies from candle to candle (or rather, from material of candle wax to material of candle wax), however, at whichever point it may be, the wax has to be smoothly melted; even though the wax must be too hot. After this, the wax should be allowed to cool down to a temperature of about 120 – 165 ˚F (particularly for soy wax) before being poured into molds or containers; this is where the cooling process starts.
The candle flame itself tends to be around 2012 ºF. This flame serves the purpose of melting the wax into its hot liquid form, which is easily absorbed by the wick and used to sustain the flame. The candle operates this way because it works on a very simple principle – as with other flames – which is: no flame or fire can survive in the absence of fuel. Fuel, in the case of candles, simply refers to the candle wax, which is made up of several ingredients which can support burning e.g. paraffin components in paraffin wax candles. Asides this, the candle flame serves several functions which include:
- Light production
Candles are one of the oldest sources of indoor illumination to have ever been created by man. Candles were first created thousands of years ago by people whose names have been lost to time. The earliest forms of candles were made from fat gotten from the carcass of slaughtered animals and other livestock. However, the major purpose of candles at this time was to provide indoor illumination. Also, it provided an avenue for using left over fat from slaughtered animals and other livestock. After gathering this fat and boiling it down to make candle wax, candle wicks were made from natural fibers and plant materials. Over time, however, the demand for light and indoor illumination could no longer be satisfied by candles; particularly after the discovery of electricity and the innovation of the electric light bulb towards the end of the 18th century. With the large-scale introduction of electricity, through the form of the electric light bulb, came a sharp decline in the demand for candles. This is simply because electricity was more desirable; the light from electric bulbs had far greater range, and electric bulbs themselves were modern at the time, which added to their popularity. Also, they had far greater capabilities compared to candles. Soon after the innovation of light bulbs, the sales and demand of candles reduced drastically; that is, until candles evolved in terms of their purpose and became very popular in the field of aromatherapy, where they now dominate.
- Heat production
Heat is one of the things produced from a candle flame when a candle is lit. Candles don’t just produce light, they also produce heat. This is because the source of the candle’s light is a flame which is basically fire; which gives off all of these things (i.e. both heat and light).
HOW TO MAXIMISE A CANDLE’S HEAT
The heat of a candle comes from the single flame on a lit candle’s wick. As a result of this, this heat is not entirely strong enough to provide warmth on its own; basically, it is very unlikely for a single candle to be able to sufficiently warm up a room, except the room is a very small one and all the windows are closed. For a typically sized room, however, dozens of candles will have to be lit at once before sufficient warmth is circulated. In order to maximize the heat of a candle, especially for warmth, the following must be done:
- Ventilation must be controlled: ventilation must be regulated for a candle to burn well. If the wind in a place is too strong, it will affect the ability of a candle to burn. It may also lead to more soot formation. This is why a candle should not be placed too close to a window during candle burning. Asides this, too little ventilation may be bad for the burning of the candle as no fire – not even the smallest flame – can burn in the absence of oxygen; so, the atmosphere surrounding a burning candle must be conducive for it.
- The candle should not be moved around too much: Candles burn much better when they are left in one position or fixed to a place. This way, they can burn and last for a very long time. Moving candles from place to place, especially when this movement is done too quickly, can lead to the production of more soot. It may also affect the ability of a candle to burn smoothly and evenly, thus resulting in tunneling. Tunneling is a situation in which one part of the candle wax burns faster than the other – particularly the centermost part – which causes the candle to burn down faster than it is supposed to, while leaving extra wax behind from the un-melted edges.