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The Chemistry of Scented Candles

Imagine, this is an ordinary Christmas day. You want to cheer yourself up and you decide to light up some candles. It smells really good, the flame is nice and you keep yourself entertained. But let’s look at it from the other side. How is this possible that the chemistry is involved?

1. Candle color. It’s not a surprise that in order to make a candle more festive and bright, some companies tend to use additional additives. It’s not only making the candle unique but also making people pay attention to certain products.

2. The main component of most candles is wax, which is most likely to be made from either paraffin wax or natural waxes like soy or beeswax. Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum, while soy and beeswax are derived from plants. These waxes are composed of long-chain hydrocarbons, primarily made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms.

3. The scent. To make a candle smell like a gingerbread man, or like a Christmas tree, or like a candy cane, companies are typically using two ways: natural additives or factory additives. Obviously, the natural ones would be more pleasant and proper for health, but nowadays it is really common to use factory things only.

4. Wick: A candle's wick is usually made of braided cotton or other natural fibres. The wick serves as the fuel delivery system, drawing liquid wax up to the flame for combustion.

5. Combustion: When the candle is lit, the heat of the flame melts the wax near the wick. As the liquid wax is drawn up the wick, it vaporises and reacts with oxygen from the air, undergoing combustion. The combustion reaction of hydrocarbons in the wax primarily produces carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) vapor.

Besides all of these factors, our society must also consider other aspects of using TOO MUCH candles during Christmas time.

Firstly, the smoke of the candles can lead to some problems related to health. For instance, to people with sensitivity and allergies, it is dangerous to keep lots of candles in the house. Secondly, candles, especially when left unattended or placed near flammable materials, can pose a fire hazard. If a candle is knocked over or comes into contact with a flammable object, it can quickly ignite and cause a fire. It's essential to follow safety guidelines, never leave a burning candle unattended, and keep candles away from flammable materials. Thirdly, air pollution and detoxification.There were thousands of cases when a simple candle had caused a detoxication because of too much smoke in the air. Afterwards, it will not only cause some health problems, but our planet will also get a dose of overactive smoke.

But what is the conclusion of it after all? lighting scented candles on a Christmas day can create a festive ambience and pleasant aroma. However, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks. Candle smoke can lead to health issues, especially for those with sensitivities or allergies. There is also a risk of fire hazards if candles are not used safely. Additionally, excessive candle use can contribute to air pollution. It is essential to exercise caution, follow safety guidelines, and consider the environmental impact when using candles.


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