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How Does Wind Speed Affect a Candle Flame?

based on 22 ratings
Author: Keren Perles

Your candles are burning more quickly than usual, and you’re not sure why. Just then, you realize that there is a draft blowing right by your candles. But does doubling the speed of the wind blowing by double the amount of candle that is burned? Find out with this experiment.

Problem:

How does wind speed affect the speedat which a candle burns?

Materials:

  • 13 candles
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Scale
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Matches
  • Fan

Procedure:

  1. Label 12 candles with the numbers 1-12 by affixing a small piece of masking tape to their bottoms and writing the number on the masking tape. Leave the last candle unlabeled.
  2. Weigh and measure each of the 12 candles and record their weights and heights.
  3. Put the first three candles indoors in an area away from any air movement. Let the candles burn for one hour.
  4. Extinguish the candles. Weigh and measure the candles again, and record your data.
  5. Turn on a fan. Light the unlabeled candle, and use it to find out the closest that the candle can be to the fan without being blown out. Set the unlabeled candle aside.
  6. Place candles 4-6 in the location you figured out in Step 5. This is the “maximum wind location.” Light them, and allow them to burn for exactly an hour.
  7. Extinguish the candles. Weigh and measure the candles again, and record your data.
  8. Measure the distance between the fan and the location used in Step 6. Place candles 7-9 twice that distance away from the fan. This location should have half the wind speed of the previous location. Light the candles, and allow them to burn for exactly an hour.
  9. Extinguish the candles. Weigh and measure the candles again, and record your data.
  10. Measure the distance between the fan and the location used in Step 8 (this should be four times the distance between the fan and the location used in Step 6). Place candles 7-9 twice that distance away from the fan. Light the candles, and allow them to burn for exactly an hour.
  11. Extinguish the candles. Weigh and measure the candles again, and record your data.
  12. Find the average changes in height and weight for each group of candles. Compare these averages, charting them as needed.
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