Temperature of a Candle Flame

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
Poster, Room 380, Midwood High School "The outer core of a candle flame is light blue - 1670 K" 1670 K
Invisible Light - Thermal Imaging. Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé, Limited. "Candle flame - 1,930 K." 1930 K
Ryan Hashiro. Light Source Color Temperature. "The color of a candle flame is similar to that of a blackbody heated to about 1800 degrees Kelvin (K), so the candle flame is said to have a color temperature of 1800 degrees K." 1800 K

In a candle flame a quarter of the energy created, is released as heat, which radiates in many directions. Only the 4% of the candle's heat goes into melting wax. There are three main reaction zones in a candle. The part where combustion starts is called the primary reaction zone. In the main reaction zone, the process of burning ends. The luminous zone is where the free carbon burns and releases light. The burning of a candle flame is a very complicated process. Liquid wax is drawn up the wick by capillary motion and vaporized with oxygen. The remaining carbon dioxide and water form many kinds of complex carbon-rich particles called soot. Soot is raised up to the top of the flame where the very strong temperature burns it.

Color tells us about the temperature of a candle flame. The outer core of the candle flame is light blue -- 1670 K (1400 °C). That is the hottest part of the flame. The color inside the flame becomes yellow, orange and finally red. The further you reach to the center of the flame, the lower the temperature will be. The red portion is around 1070 K (800 °C).

Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Standardized
Result
Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. "1/60 of the intensity at 1 cm3 of a blackbody radiator at the temperature of solidification of platinum (2045 K)." 2045 K
Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia. 1998 "… of a perfectly black object at the freezing point of platinum (2,046 K, or 3,223.4 °F)" 2046 K

The candle is also a unit of luminous intensity. The intensity of light determines how well a surface will be illuminated. A candle is 1/60 of the light intensity of one square centimeter of a perfectly black object at the freezing point of platinum, 2045 K.

Jane Fishler -- 1999


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