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Science of the "crackle"


Donita
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I certainly am not a chemist nor really understand all of this, but in a book I have, I read this this morning:"As a generality, a highly normal close-cut paraffin wax will exhibit a sharp transition temperature. Below this temperature it will be crystalline, hard and brittle. As iso-paraffinic content of the wax is increased and the melting-point range is broadened, the transition temperature of the wax becomes less apparent. In extreme there is no transition temperature. A highly iso-paraffinic wax does not go into the crystalline state upon solidification. It is amorphous, and being rather non-crystalline in the solid state is is usually plastic over the entire solid temperature range".........I have wondered why my 4045 and 4045H crackle and mottle and the 4045EP doens't.....now I have a better understanding. The close cut parrafins mottle and are brittle on the surface and will crack when exposed to rapid heating and cooling. The 4045EP is a broader cut wax....both have the same mp....so I was confused. The 4045EP isn't as clear and doesn't ripple when additives are added to it when I make my chunks, whereas the others do......it is all in the process of using solvents, etc. when initially making wax. Now many wax suppliers have made preblend waxes for all of us little candlemakers to make our candles more predictable. But as we all know....there is still a lot of experimenting. These waxes burn at a different rate even tho they have the same mp. When air is released from wax as it cools, it creates the "snowflakes" on the surface, especially in close cut wax.....that is why we can mottle candles. In the olden days that was considered a no no....not desirable. Now we do it on purpose. If you want to use a mottling wax for a non mottled candle then you add a very small amount, maybe 1% of additives to correct it. Like FT crystals, or micros. I personally like to use the broader cut wax such as 4045EP with a little micro or gloss poly. I don't ever get fingernailing. (well I did one time and that was because I used too much of an additive, can't remember because it was years ago)..This book I have is explaining some things to me that have bothered me for years. All of the chemists that I have spoken to over the years were just to vague for me.....so now I am trying to really understand what wax is all about. Top and Girlwiththecurl have the same book. Maybe they can throw some light onto this topic. Soooooooooooooooo as far as getting the crackle effect.......use a straight close cut wax, no additives except FO, Color, fade inhibitor and I have been using 2T steric pp because I like the mottle look too and the way the candles burns and releases from the molds. Dip the candle into the 200 degree water slowly, pull out....do it again and one more time. Don't let the candle get too hot or when you plunge it into the ice cold water the surface won't get "shocked" enough because of the intense heat inside of the candle. My ice water is very "icy".........I have made other waxes "crackle" but they have larger cracks. And sometimes for reasons I do not understand, my crackles aren't the way I want them.....must have something to do with the FO or the way I am holding my tongue. Hope this helps and isn't too confusing. Between all of us we can all have a better understanding of how our beloved wax performs. LOL Donita

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OKAY - NOW I AM MAD :mad:

I have spent all afternoon, and 3 candles, trying to get this crackle thing to work, and NOTHING.... all I have is 3 very skinny candles. I dipped my candles in 200 degree water for a few seconds, did it again, then plunged it into very icy water...... NOTHING!

Donita - What am I doing wrong???????

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Heck that is the simplest thing of seen on here for ages. Only problem is, I don't understand the first thing about it. The heck with crackle candles I say. KISS (keep it simple stupid). Donita... I'm not reffering to you OK.

Thank you Tucker - I appreciate the vote of confidence! Yes, I see it's as clear as mud, and the instructions are the simplest thing, but my point is it's not working. I need help, not smarta$$ comments.........

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Margaritamama....sorry you are having trouble. It happens to me too. I just typed the instructions to go with pictures for this board. I will submit it as soon as I go over it again. I don't know what wax you are using, but I have found that the crackle happens with a narrow or straight cut paraffin. That would generally be, I guess, a wax that mottles. I use 4045H. It worked with the 4045, but not with the 4045EP which is a broader cut paraffin. It has to be brittle enough. Also don't let the candle get too hot in the water or the surface won't be "shocked" and forced to crack. Does that make sense? Just the surface should be hot....then putting it into the cold water will shock it. I tried to crackle a pillar that was made with CBL 141, a blend wax. It got large cracks on the surface, not the little crackle effect that I like, but the other looks ok anyway. Tell me what kind of wax you are using and what it is intended for. I do see a difference with different FO's too. I generally use 1 oz per pound. I have done it without any FO and don't see much of a difference. Donita

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I've only played around with leftover candle bits and haven't tried it with anything new. The only wax I got it to work on (and let me tell you I tried all Sunday), was igi 145 (straight parraffin) which had a mp of around 140 and no additives except color. IGI waxes except for 1343 are the only ones I can get locally. I may try again when I have time.

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