Candle Lab Essay

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Introduction In this lab I observed the burning of a candle very closely. I found out that the candle needs oxygen to burn, that it produces carbon dioxide similar to the way that my body produces carbon dioxide, and that a candle produces water as a second waste product. I learned that if I hold an object in the flame it becomes covered with soot which is unburned carbon fuel. Finally, I learned that neither the solid wax, nor the melted wax, nor the wick burns when a candle is lit. In fact, the wax itself is burning as a vapor or gas. Objectives 1. What happens to the candle when you light it? 2. Can you prove that the candle needs oxygen in order to burn? 3. Can you prove that the candle produces carbon dioxide when it burns? 4. Can you prove that the candle produces water when it burns? 5. What happens when you hold a piece of glass in different parts of the flame? What do these results say about the process of burning wax in a candle? 6. Is it possible to light a candle without touching the flame directly to the wick? Why or why not? Materials • candle • matches • safety goggles • lab handout & pen • ruler • watch glass • 400 mL beaker • CO2 indicator solution (limewater) • 50 mL beaker (for indicator) Procedure My lab partner and I performed a series of experiments to investigate the chemistry of the burning of a candle. The teacher provided the following chemical equation to describe the burning, or combustion, in the candle: Hydrocarbon fuel + O2 ( CO2 + H2O The candle we used was a small, white emergency candle about 3.5 cm tall. The candle had already been used by someone else because I could see from the black wick that it had been lit before. When we lit the candle I noticed that at first it was only the wick that was burning. Eventually, after the flame
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