Burning of a Candle Physical or Chemical Change?

burning of candle physical or chemical changeA change is defined as the physical change when there is no modification or alteration of the substance’s chemical composition happens. When a candle is burnt and the wax melts changing from solid to liquid state is referred to as physical change.

A change is defined as chemical when the composition of the material changes and new material is obtained different from the original one. Chemical changes are usually seen through the emission of gases, temperature changes, and precipitates.

Both physical and chemical change occurs when a candle burns. There are both reactions when the candle burns.

The physical change is quite often and can be seen clearly. When the wax melts slowly and the candle gets smaller and smaller. This is the physical change of the burning candle. This wax that melts slowly comes together back into solid and the sticks to the candle. This is also a physical change.

The chemical reaction, on the other hand, is less obvious and cannot be seen directly. The heat produced by the candle while burning consumes most of the oxygen around it plus the fuels which comes from the flames. When all this happens, it leads to the emission of carbon dioxide which is produced by the flames. These emissions of carbon dioxide should never be inhaled because it is not good for human health. This reaction is called chemical change.

physical or chemical change

Physical change

When the candle burns, the wax in it does only two things. The first thing it melts and secondly it burns. Actually when it is burning, it is the melted wax that burns. The candle’s heat melts the surrounding wax which in turn is absorbed by the wick of the candle. This melted wax burns itself on the wick. The wick itself doesn’t burn but rather the melted wax. As the candle burns downwards, there is no melted wax around and so the end of the wick burns a little bit until the whole candle is burnt up and the last drop of the wick also burns.

As the wax melts, it changes into liquid form. This wax in liquid form after cooling again goes back to the solid form, but it is still wax but in a different form.

Chemical change

As the candle burns, apart from the physical changes, there is another reaction that cannot be seen. This reaction forms as the melted wax reacts with the fire and the surrounding environment to form what is very different from the original candle. The result is not totally related to the candle and cannot be reversed to go back to the original state of the candle. This change is so much negligible.

The wax burns and combines with carbon dioxide, carbon particles, and water. It is hard to get the wax back after burning because the bonds have been broken.

The candle therefore has both the physical and the chemical changes which occur when it is burnt and when burning. Since its formation can be altered to another substance which again can be taken back to original through physical means, then physical changes takes effect and when its structure is changed in order to extract its original reactants, then a chemical change occurs. Thus both changes are evident in the burning of a candle.

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