Why Won’t a Candle Burn Without a Wick?

By capillary attraction, the wick leads melted wax up to where it can be vaporized and mix with oxygen in the air.

A block of solid wax, or even a puddle of melted wax, won’t burn because the wax molecules can’t come in contact with enough oxygen molecules; only as vapors can they mix intimately, molecule for molecule, and react.

Combustion (burning) is a reaction that releases heat energy.

Once it begins, it gives off more than enough heat to keep melting and vaporizing more wax to keep the process going.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

Leave a Comment