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Question
Hi,

When you light a candle it starts out very small and then quickly grows to approx. a 2 cm flame height.  There's plenty of fuel and oxygen etc.

Why does it stop growing ?

Thanks,
Karly

Answer
The flame stops growing when equilibrium is reached - the rate at which the wax combusts matches the rate at which the wax can travel up the wick. There are also issues relating to the surface to volume ration of the flame. At some point as the flame grows wax gas within the flame is shielded by the outer burning flame.

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James J. Kovalcin

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I am teaching or have taught AP physics B and C [calculus based mechanics & electricity and magnetism] as well as Lab Physics for college bound students. I have a BS in Physics from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Arts in Teaching from same. I have been teaching physics for 34 years. I am constantly updating my skills and have a particular interest in modern physics topics.

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