Scientific Party Tricks - Hydrocarbons

Looking for a fun party trick? Traveling Scientist David Wrigley has you covered. Adult supervision needed. 

You will find out that all combustion reactions require heat, fuel, and an oxidizer. When we light a candle, the fuel for that combustion reaction is vaporized hydrocarbons of the candle's wax. When we blow out the candle, some particles of vaporized wax hydrocarbons are still present in the smoke emanating from the candle's wick. If we introduce a heat source, like a lit match, into the smoke, the smoke itself can ignite, carrying the flame down the smoke and relighting the candle! 

Related Topics: combustion, chemistry