Can paraffin wax catch on fire? Yes, highly-flammable paraffin wax
generally ignites at the following
temperatures, depending upon its melting point, and the hardeners you mix
- Paraffin wax without additives: 199°C (390.2°F).
- Paraffin wax with additives: 249°C (480.2°F).
These two temperatures form the lower and higher limits of the
combustion zone. Candle wax bursts into flames at various points within that
thermal range, depending upon its composition.
Some paraffin wax manufacturers claim
a 140°C (284°F) flashpoint for their particular waxes. Although
doubtful, (I've worked with a variety of waxes at
much higher temperatures), for safety's sake, use the temperatures I've given,
as guidelines only, and always follow the suppliers' instructions.
Certain creative candles are poured, with hotter-than-normal waxes, of
127°C (260.6°F) or above. Also, high heat waxes are the norm for
overdipping candles. So, using a double-boiler - which prevents wax from
exceeding the temperature of boiling water - becomes impossible.
The flammability of paraffin causes a problem, when melting wax directly on the
stove. Watch for signs of overheating: candle wax turns brown, smells bitter, smokes
and sizzles, some time before it approaches the point of autoignition.
How to Put out a Paraffin Wax Fire
So, if candlewax combusts, how do you extinguish the fire? Do not
water over burning wax. This impulsive action might be the first thing one thinks of, but this simply
accelerates the fire, and causes
. Instead, switch your electricity mains off. Stick a lid onto the pot with the
flaming wax. This smothers the flames, and causes the fire to die down
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