MadSci Network: Chemistry |

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Dear Christy,

Candles are made of long chain hydrocarbons and esters of C11-C17 carboxylic acids connected to glycerol. It would not be an overestimation to suppose that the brute formula of the candle is C10H20O. Then, a simple equation gives us :

2C10H20O + 29O2 ---> 20CO2 + 20H2O (assuming total combustion)Which means that for 1 g. of a candle there would be :

156 -- 928 1 -- 7.36 or 0.23 M oxygen == 5.152 liters of O2 at normal pressure and room temperature (~25 degrees Centigrade)So, a 10 gram candle burns 10 times as much, or 50 liters of oxygen.

Naturally, this is a rough estimate. Using a more accurate elemental composition of the candle one could produce more precise results, but in general this result is fairly reasonale.

Hope it helps.

A.G.E.

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