Chemistry Thought Of The Day: Magic Smoke

StickFigure-BoomDIY: Magic Smoke


  • Candle
  • Lighter


  1. Light the candle
  2. When the wax starts to melt, blow it out
  3. Hold a lit lighter above the candle in the smoke originating from the wick
  4. If done properly, the candle should relight


  • It's Fire...


A candle is typically made of two different pieces, a wick (some sort of absorbent string or twine) and the fuel (generally a paraffin wax). The wax is a hydrocarbon similar to fuel that is used in vehicles. When the candle is lit, the surrounding wax begins to melt and is absorbed up through the wick. The heat of the flame will vaporize the liquid wax and that vapor is what is actually burning. When you blow out the flame, the resultant smoke that is visible is actually visible wax vapor. If the vapor is a continuous stream back to the wick, touching a lit flame will cause the candle to re-ignite.

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