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Ok, I'm confused and need help, no not psychiatric help, candle help...

If a particular wax melts at 125 degrees and it is recommended to pour between 120 and 165 degrees, why do you heat it higher?

Why would you add the fragrance at a really high temperature, say 170 degrees? Wouldn't this degrade or at least burn off some of the components of the fo?

I'm chasing my tail and have tried several pour temps, but it seems that with each I get wavey tops or at higher temps I'm doing several pours. I'm not looking for one pour, per se, just want smooth tops.

I'm using c-3 with 1% universal additive, various dye chip colors and various fragrances (8%.)

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Fragrance oil is just that. It incorporates with the wax and is not going to burn off at higher temps. You really need Stella to jump in here and explain wax and temps. The majority of waxes are able to withstand higher temps than recommended by the mfg. It really depends on the pouring environment and what works for you in that environment. I heat my blend to 190 and pour at 185 with no problem. HTH

Steve

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A candle, when burning is pretty hot. Flashpoint is when something can will catch fire all by itself...combining the FO with wax makes the flash point much higher. Wax flashpoint is generally 390 degrees which is why you can light candles and they don't explode.

Edited by Shewill5
Original question didn't involve flashpoint of wax
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Fragrance oil is just that. It incorporates with the wax and is not going to burn off at higher temps. HTH

Steve

Maybe I'm confused or causing confusion. I've always been lead to believe that fragrance oils are volatile substances, meaning they have a tendency to vaporize. This is why over time candles (and soap) will lose their fragrance. The fo doesn't want to stay trapped in the wax, instead, it wants to vaporize (turn to fumes) and escape. I'm thinking that temperature can either slow down or speed up the process. Would you store your candles at 120 degrees? Where do you store and how is it recommended you store your fragrance oils?

So, if fragrance oils are volatile and exposing them to heat causes volatility to speed up, then wouldn't adding fragrance to your wax at a high temperature burn off some of the fragrance?

Please remember that I'm coming at this from a soap making point of view. Lye is very caustic and does effect fragrances in a much different way than wax. However, one of the tricks we soap makers use to hopefully decrease the loss of fragrance is to soap cool. I'm thinking that adding fragrance to wax at a cooler temperature may have the same result. That is why I was surprised when Chuck said that fragrance oil is not going to burn off at a higher temp and why I'm thinking that adding fragrance to wax and pouring at a cooler temp may save the strength of the fragrance (throw.)

Thoughts?

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Then how would you explain cpop? I have soaps that are now several months old and still smell pretty stout (pumpkin spice). Fos have different formulations that are not affected by the chemical reactions that take place in saponification. Soaping at cooler temps or room temperature for the purpose of avoiding the gel phase is a totally different subject. Even so, the outcome is the same; fragrance oils or essential oils are within the mixture and not openly exposed to a flame or heating element. Oxidation causes the weakening of fragrance over time not heat. If you were boiling your soap or candle wax; then I'd say stop but pouring at higher temps only means that the wax is going to cool faster and shrink more. That's the reasoning behind placing candles in a box and insulating so the cooling process is slowed and there is less shrinkage (think George Castanza). HTH

Steve

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Most fragrances are different after soaped compared to straight out of the bottle. Yes, they are coming into contact with lye and going through a saponification process, but part of the process is increased temperature if the soap is allowed to gel (I do.) I have soaps that are several years old that are fragrant, but I think this has more to do with the way the fragrance oil was originally formulated. Still fragrant, but not the same as out of the bottle.

I'm skeptical that temperature at mix and pour doesn't effect fragrances used in candles. Being new to candle making and rather stubborn, this may be something I have to learn from experience.

Question: If you pour at a high temperature and slow cooling to reduce shrinkage, will you get a sink hold in your candle when burning?

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of course some FO evaporates when you add it to a hot liquid. but not much.

to reduce the absurdly minuscule amount that evaporates when you add it at 180 (as is generally recommended) you can add it at a lower temp and mix while you bring the temp up. once the oils (wax is an oil, after all) are mixed a new evaporation point is generated so it will not evap as easily.

but seriously, there's no need to do this. just don't put an open flame to your FO and you're good.

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Well said Care Bear. I think if you read posts over any length of time, you're going to observe reports about which fos stick, morph or disappear altogether. It is always different from oob to actual application in whatever medium. Everything becomes transformed once it is applied to the intended purpose but temps are very subjective to the different methods, environments and the differences (however slight) by which we change the formulation. You will always be ruled by what works for you in your given environment not by a general law of the universe. Stella has some great threads about tempering wax; why not search those out and see what you think? HTH.

Steve

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Maybe I'm confused or causing confusion. I've always been lead to believe that fragrance oils are volatile substances, meaning they have a tendency to vaporize. This is why over time candles (and soap) will lose their fragrance. The fo doesn't want to stay trapped in the wax, instead, it wants to vaporize (turn to fumes) and escape. I'm thinking that temperature can either slow down or speed up the process. Would you store your candles at 120 degrees? Where do you store and how is it recommended you store your fragrance oils?

So, if fragrance oils are volatile and exposing them to heat causes volatility to speed up, then wouldn't adding fragrance to your wax at a high temperature burn off some of the fragrance?

Please remember that I'm coming at this from a soap making point of view. Lye is very caustic and does effect fragrances in a much different way than wax. However, one of the tricks we soap makers use to hopefully decrease the loss of fragrance is to soap cool. I'm thinking that adding fragrance to wax at a cooler temperature may have the same result. That is why I was surprised when Chuck said that fragrance oil is not going to burn off at a higher temp and why I'm thinking that adding fragrance to wax and pouring at a cooler temp may save the strength of the fragrance (throw.)

Thoughts?

Hi MissMori

I am new to candle making as well and know not nearly enough to suggest anything to anybody but I will tell you what a chemist friend told me regarding wax and fragrance:

In conversation about candle making and all the frosting issues I have been having he questioned why I would heat wax so high with such a low melt point (I use soy) and add fragrance at such a high temp(recommend heat temp at 185 and then add fragrance)- his thoughts were the overpowering fumes that come off the wax when mixing at hot temps confirms that most is permeating into the air and being burned off and losing strength. He teaches college chemistry so I figured he knew more than I and tried his suggestion of heating my wax to 175 for tarts and adding fragrance at 150 then take down to my pour temp. I do have to say the cold and hot throw is much better doing this and I have lost the white frost lines on the tops of my tarts.

I am testing this now with jars. I am absorbing everything everyone says and suggests myself and read the posts daily for sometimes hours at a time! So much to learn and so many great people on this forum willing to help and share ideas but it does all come down to what works for you and there are alot of variables!:cheesy2:

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If a particular wax melts at 125 degrees and it is recommended to pour between 120 and 165 degrees, why do you heat it higher?

Some people don't and the sun still rose in the east anyway. :) Heating the wax higher is done for several reasons

  • to assure that the wax has reached a temperature level to get all of the crystals at the same phase while tempering
  • to allow for addition & incorporation of additives which melt at a higher temp (ie. USA, which melts at 165°-170°F)
  • to assure that the wax is heated high enough to pass the "bubbly" point (right around the melt point)

Understand that pouring between 120°F and 165°F leaves a lot of "fudge" room. It's the in-between temps that'll make you tear your hair out with C3. Different phase crystals tend to form at different temps. To end up with a smooth wax, one wants to discourage the growth of the undesirable crystal phases and encourage the growth of the desired ones. The suggestion to read about tempering was an excellent one, although the temps Jason used in his thread are not necessarily applicable to NatureWax C3.

Why would you add the fragrance at a really high temperature, say 170 degrees? Wouldn't this degrade or at least burn off some of the components of the fo?
No. Understand that for users of other waxes, FO is added at much higher temps with no loss of quality. The stuff's made for candlemaking. Now EOs may be a different story, depending, but the FOs sold for use in candlemaking can be used at temps much higher than we use for soy candles with no ill effects. Likewise, FO can be added at lower temps, but takes longer to stir in & fully incorporate with the wax. I slowly add FO at 185°F, stirring constantly so as not to drop the temperature of the wax too suddenly. In the winter, I prewarm the FO (warm - not hot!) so it doesn't drop the temp too radically.
I'm chasing my tail and have tried several pour temps, but it seems that with each I get wavey tops or at higher temps I'm doing several pours. I'm not looking for one pour, per se, just want smooth tops.
C3 is a one-pour wax. It shouldn't require a second pour. Most of the time, there isn't even any need to use a heat gun to smooth out minor flaws because the surface is smooth, level, shiny and blemish-free. It looks and performs best when poured hot and cooled slowly. I pour at 165°F. I have poured slightly hotter and at several different temps cooler and 165° is the magic number I arrived at for my candles. Cooling the candles slowly and evenly on a cookie rack under a large cardboard box works well this time of year. In the warmer months, I just throw a length of paper towels over the wicks to keep drafts off the candles while they are cooling. Allow some space between the candles so that they do not keep one another too warm. "Slowly" and "evenly" are the key terms.
Question: If you pour at a high temperature and slow cooling to reduce shrinkage, will you get a sink hold in your candle when burning?
No. If the candle cools unevenly, you will get a sinkhole. Sinkholes do not happen after the candle is poured at normal interior air temps. If a sinkhole develops during the burning of a candle, either the candle was burned in a very cold room or the void was already there, having formed while cooling.

Regarding flashpoint - this is not applicable to soy candlemaking.

I'll use Wikipedia's definition here since it's as good as any:

The flash point of a volatile liquid is the lowest temperature at which it can vaporize to form an ignitable mixture in air. Measuring a liquid's flash point requires an ignition source. At the flash point, the vapor may cease to burn when the source of ignition is removed.
Three things must be present for a FO to flash: heat, oxygen & a source of ignition. If any of those three things are not present, it won't ignite. The FO is diluted into an oil (veggie wax = super-hydrogenated vegetable oil, or shortening) with a higher flash point.
In conversation about candle making and all the frosting issues I have been having he questioned why I would heat wax so high with such a low melt point (I use soy) and add fragrance at such a high temp(recommend heat temp at 185 and then add fragrance)- his thoughts were the overpowering fumes that come off the wax when mixing at hot temps confirms that most is permeating into the air and being burned off and losing strength. He teaches college chemistry so I figured he knew more than I
A degree in oleochemistry would be more helpful! What your friend may be able to better explain is how polymorphism dictates how we handle soy wax, ie. the different crystal phases that vegetable oil possesses and how to encourage the ones we want and discourage the one's we don't (frosting, cauliflowering, etc.) by use of temperature & agitation. This is the same phenomenon that compels candy-makers to temper chocolate to prevent "bloom" (frosting) and provide a shiny, creamy, uniform appearance with "snap." Hershey's knows all about this.

If you are having problems with hot throw in your candles, it isn't because the FOs are "burning off," otherwise the hot throw of all of our candles would suck, too. A great throwing candle is a system. It's a balance between the wax, FO & wick.

Best to discuss one issue at a time to avoid total confusion and science overload. I hope I addressed your questions about getting a smooth top with C3. If you are having trouble with a good hot throw, open another thread with the amount of FO you are using, wick type & size, and container (width & height dimensions, please) and we'll try to help. :)

Don't overthink this too much... while the science behind all this IS important, particularly the oleochemistry, it ain't rocket science. There is an art to candlemaking, just as there is an art to cooking. Understanding the science behind it is no substitute for knowing how & when to do things. There is no one "formula." Every chandler's manufacturing environment is different. No two people make candles exactly the same way with the exact same results.

Slow down a little. You're trying to run before you can walk. Do you know why you are using USA, for example? Are you sure it's needed? ;) My BEST suggestion is to learn how to pour and wick C3 (or any other veggie wax, for that matter) with no FO or dye or additive in ONE size container. Once you can achieve that, with no frosting, wavy or pocked tops, etc., then add things one at a time. Building a solid foundation step by step will get you up to speed much faster than starting with a whole bunch of stuff and no idea of how it all goes together.

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An afterthought... Little bitty tarts & votives are more sensitive to the effects of rapid cooling than, say, an 8 oz. widemouth mason jar candle. Stick with one thing at a time, for best results. :)

I pour my soy wax at a very low temp (no more than 120 degrees) and I always have smooth tops.

Are you using the same wax? What's the ambient room temp & humidity of your pouring area? This makes a LOT of difference in what pouring temp works best.

Edited by Stella1952
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