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Effect of Candle Color in Burn Time

Problem Statement

What is the process of a candle burning? Does adding dye affect a candles burning rate?? Do colored candles burn quicker because the added dyes? Colored candles are popular in homes, their pleasant scents, relaxing traits and decorative qualities are only a few reasons why people love them. I myself a candle lover have noticed that different candles burn at different speeds. Which lead me to question, if the dyes used to color the candles affects its burning speed?

Specific Question:

Does adding dye to color a candle affect its burning rate?

Background Research:

To fully comprehend if using dye to color a candle affects its burning rate, it is essential to examine and comprehend the candle itself along with its burning process.

A candle is a piece of tallow or wax with an embedded wick. A candle is made by paraffin wax which comes from crude oil. When exposed to a temperature of 380 degrees or higher paraffin automatically combusts. The wick is composed of porous coil.

The candle burning process

The melting process of a candle is simple; first the wick is lit, which starts the flames journey down the wick were will ultimately reach the wax. Consequently, the warmth of the heat melts the molded wax into a liquid. Subsequently the wick absorbs the newly melted liquid and uses it to fuel the flame. Therefore it is the liquid wax of the candle that fuels the flame, allowing it to continue burning.

Experimental design

The experiment will consist of burning a variety of five colored birthday candles and recording the speed at which each candle burns.


The experimental will be performed on my dining room table. Each candle will be individually placed in a candle holder, next both the candle and the candle holder will be placed in a tea cup, and then the candle will be lit and timed.

1) First, gather all the needed supplies,

    • A variety of five colored birthday candles
    • Candle lighter
    • Stop watch
    • Candle holder
    • Tea cup
    • Scissors
    • Marker
    • Metric Ruler
    • Data sheet

2. Each candle will be measured and marked one inch from its bottom.

3. The white candle will be lit and timed first.

4. The white candles burning time will then be recorded.

5. The prior steps will be repeated for each of the remaining candles individually.

6. Following the completion of the candle burning process, the recorded results will be compared and a graph representing the results will be created


    1. Independent

The color of the candle will represent the experiments independent variable.

    1. Dependent

The rate at which each candle burns will be the experiments dependent variable.

    1. Controls

The following will be the controlled variables of the experiment.

    1. The measured distance of the mark in the candles.
    2. The brand of the candles will be the same.
    3. The burning of the candles will be performed in the same time and place.
    4. The temperature of the room will remain the same while each candle burns.

Threat reduction to internal validity

The following steps were taken in order To minimize error during the experiment,

  1. the candles will all be the same brand
  2. the candles will be measured and marked to ensure all candles are the same size
  3. Each candle will be placed in a candle holder and then in a tea cup in order to eliminate unexpected elements


The speed at which a candle burns is not affected by the dyes used to give the candle its color.

To develop this hypothesis, the research was carefully considered, The National Candle Association explains that dyes used in candle coloring are dissolved and mixed with the wax’s oil. Since the added dyes do not clog the fibers of the wick, the candles burning ability is minimally affected. As a result candles colored with dye should burn at the same rate. These researched facts lead to the conclusion that added dyes do not affect a candles burning rate.

Explain the process of data collection

The candle burning process research was collected through


  1. Time will be calculated with a timer
  2. Candles will be measured with a metric ruler.

Pre experiment predictions

Experiment Results

  1. Yellow Candle: 8 minutes 24 seconds
  2. Blue Candle: 8 minutes 54 seconds
  3. White Candle: 9 minutes 4 seconds
  4. Pink Candle: 9 minutes 20 seconds
  5. Green Candle: 9 minutes 22 seconds

Written Results

The results of the experiment resulted in the yellow candle reached its mark the fastest, and the green candle was the slowest burning candle. The candles burned in the following order beginning with the fastest: yellow, blue, white, pink and last green. The graph shows the rate of the candles burning with 8 minutes being the fast and 9 minutes being the slowest. The graph also indicates that the dye doesn’t affect the speed at which a candle burns. The white which is the lightest color was the third fastest candle to reach the mark, not the first as previously stated. Blue the darkest candle finished second fastest.


The hypothesis stated “The speed at which a candle burns is not affected by the dyes used to give the candle its color”. The results of the experiment supported the hypothesis and proved that the dyes used to color candles have little or no affect on the candle burning rate.


The results of the experiment conclude that candles do not burn at the same rate also they do not burn according to the lightest to darkest colored. The results of the experiment confirm that the dependent and independent variables have no relationship. The data from the experiment answered the research question: “Does the added color in a candle affect the candles burning rate”? The experiment concluded that adding color to a candle does not affect its burning rate.


Summary of the experiment

The stated problem: “Does adding color to a candle affect its burning rate?” A variety of five colored candles, all of the candles were the same size, brand and tested under the same conditions. The colored candles used to conduct the experiment were yellow, blue, pink, white and green. The candles were all measured one inch from the bottom to ensure the burning time be identical. Next the candles were lit and the timer was started. The times were then recorded. Following the experiment the data was then compare and the results confirmed that the added dyes in candles do not affect its burning time.

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