“Dancing” flames - candle question

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by wegs, May 8, 2023.

  1. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    So, I enjoy lighting candles in the morning before work and a few frequently used ones, have nearly no wax left, so the wicks are no longer sticking up at the top of the candle, but are about 3/4 inch from the base.

    I’ve been noticing that the flames “dance” more now, than when the candle was new, and the wicks burned at the top. My ceiling fan and air conditioning are both off at this time of day, so there is very little air movement(?) when the candles are lit. What is causing the flames to dance like this? If you were to see them, you’d think I have the windows open on a windy day.

    I would think that the reaction would be different if the wicks were closer to the base, than from the top of the candle. I’m confused; any thoughts to this?

    *I should add that these candles are “jar candles,” not stick candles that are placed in holders. Example:

    https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0332/6204/3181/products/FallCemeteryCandle_720x.png?v=1659651513
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2023
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    exchemist and wegs like this.
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  5. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting!! I can’t find much on it - the Google search results turn up several queries about “exploding candles.”
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    External air flow may be at a minimum but the rising heat from the flame produces its own air circulation. And when the wick is surrounded by a barrier inside which some of the warm air wants to rise and cooler air needs to flow in to take its place, you will get a chaotic, shifting flow. Thus, dancing flame.

    EDIT: Didn't see C C beat me to it.
     
    exchemist and wegs like this.

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