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A Determination of the Density, Melting Point, and Amount of Lead and Carbon Released into the Air When Burning Various Candles With and Without Metallic Cores in the Wicks.

Candles have become very popular recently and are used for relaxation and therapeutic purposes. However, candles can be very dangerous if the wicks contain a metal core that emits lead into the air when burned. The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether a candle with a metallic wick, nonmetallic wick, and the wax itself would emit lead and to correlate the density, melting point, and amount of carbon soot produced by burning the candles. It was hypothesized that candles made with a low density wax would emit a large amount of carbon when burned and lead would be released from those with metallic cores. The carbon deposition was tested by collecting carbon from burning the candles and calculating the amount of carbon released per gram of wax per minute. The density was tested using an analytical balance, and the melting point was obtained by using the Karl Fisher Johns Apparatus. The lead content was measured after acid digestion using an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. The experimental results for the carbon deposition and density did not support the research hypothesis. The results were not found to be statistically significant at [alpha]=0.05 level. These results indicate that other factors may contribute to the amount of carbon deposition than density alone. For the lead content, all of the candles with metal wicks were reported to have lead in the wicks. Therefore, the results for the lead content did support the research hypothesis.
Rita H. Shah
Spring Valley High School
COPYRIGHT 2001 South Carolina Academy of Science
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Shah, Rita H.
Publication:Bulletin of the South Carolina Academy of Science
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U5SC
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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