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News > The School Birthday > The School Birthday Giving Week - The Science of a Candle

The School Birthday Giving Week - The Science of a Candle

To help the school celebrate its 144th birthday, the science department shares the captivating physics behind blowing out candles!

The melting moment:

As the birthday candles are lit, the process of combustion begins. The heat generated by the flame radiates outwards, raising the temperature of the surrounding wax causing the solid wax structure to undergo a controlled metamorphosis into a liquid state.

Oxygen deprivation and combustion suppression:

When you take a deep breath and the moment arrives to extinguish the candles, a critical interplay of oxygen dynamics unfolds. The act of blowing introduces a swift current of air which dilutes the concentration of oxygen around the flame, leading to a temporary state of oxygen deprivation. Combustion ceases due to the insufficient availability of the vital oxidizing agent.

Turbulence and kinetic energy:

The forceful expulsion of air as you blow out the candles triggers a symphony of turbulent movements. Air molecules collide with the flickering flame, creating a microcosm of kinetic energy and disrupting convection currents crucial for a stable fire. Simultaneously, thermal quenching swiftly removes heat, reducing temperature and incapacitating the flame.

Scientific Nostalgia:

In the aftermath, wisps of smoke ascend, carrying with them the residual products of incomplete combustion. The wax, having succumbed to the forces of heat and kinetic energy, solidifies once again as a testament to the transient nature of the scientific phenomenon.

So as we celebrate the school’s 144th birthday, remember that blowing out candles is not just a simple tradition – it’s a wishful escape into the realms of celebration physics.

May your candles flicker with the magic of science, and may your wishes soar to the stars.

Happy 144th birthday!

Can you give us the gift of a donation - £1.44, £14.44, £144, £1444 on our 144th birthday?



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