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Arwen McKinney

Mrs. Stevens

Life Science

31 January 2018

What Color Crayon Burns the Fastest?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to light a crayon on fire? When I was a

child, I would accidentally leave crayons outside, resulting in a big mess of melted crayons.

Because of this, I wanted to burn crayons and see which color would burn faster than the others.

If I burn the basic 8 color crayons (​red, yellow, green, blue, brown, black, orange and purple)​,

then I think the black will burn faster than the other colors.

What Part of a Crayon is Flammable?

The paper of the crayon is used as a wick, allowing the crayon to burn slow like a candle.

Crayons are made out of paraffin wax, which is used in candles (Mikkelson). Darker crayons

absorb the heat faster than lighter crayons making them burn faster (fun). Large molecules of

paraffin will “cling” to each other in a way that’s similar to butter. When heat is introduced, the

molecules will segregate and become a liquid (Federbusch).

What Takes Place Chemically When a Candle Burns?

The heat of the flame vaporizes the wax turning it into a gas (Woodford). The heat from

the wick melts the wax and the flame vaporizes the wax molecules and they react with the

oxygen. As the wax is consumed, capillary action draws more liquid wax along the wick and the

wick will leave no ash or wax residue as long as the wax doesn’t melt away from the flame

(Helmenstine). The heat breaks down hydrocarbons into molecules of hydrogen and carbon
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(Woodford). The heat maintains the reaction by vaporizing the wax so it can burn and containing

it to create fuel (Helmenstine). The vaporized molecules are drawn up into flame where they mix

with oxygen and create heat, light, water vapor, and carbon dioxide (Woodford).

What Causes Objects to Change State? Why Does the Candle go From a Solid to a Liquid and

Finally a Gas?

When lighting a candle, only the wax in or near the wick will burn. The wick in the

candle absorbs the liquid wax pulling the flame upward. The heat vaporizes the wax, meaning,

it's really the wax vapor that burns. When you blow out a candle, the white stream of smoke is

paraffin vapor that condenses to a visible form. The more paraffin vapor, the longer the stream

will be. The wick does not burn because the vaporizing wax burns the wick (how does).

What is Paraffin Wax? And Other Than Making Crayons, What is it Used For?

Paraffin wax is petroleum by-product that is created from the sludge waste when crude

oil is refined into gasoline. The wax also causes soot, which is the black stuff from the flame

(Riter). Paraffin wax is used for wax treatment at spas and salons. It is used as heat therapy for

people with rheumatic diseases (Forester). It is used on vegetables, fruits and candy to slow

down the process of them rotting. Paraffin wax is used to seal jams or jellies and is used in

chocolate to make it edible and able to remain a solid at room temperature, although not all

paraffin wax is edible (what).

What Kind of Dye is Used to Color Crayons?

Paraffin wax is melted and mixed together with measured amounts of color pigment. The

color pigments are either used individually or mixed together (how are crayons). Powder

pigments are used to color crayons and are made without water and instead mix with the paraffin
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wax because the products in the wax don’t mix with water. The powder pigments may be used

with water but will get dried out with filters made to remove the water. Chunks are left behind

called “kiln-dried” and are combined with other pigment chunks to create a specific colors. The

chunks are then pulverized into a fine powder which is used to put into the crayons. A darker

color will typically need a larger amount of pigment (how).

What Safety Precautions Need to be Taken When Burning Crayons?

A warming tray works best for melting crayons (Solga). Take the paper off of the crayons

and cut it into pieces. When using a pot, boil water and put a glass bowl in the pot to melt the

crayons in. When microwaving, put in microwave safe container and microwave for 2 minutes

but take out the container every thirty seconds to stir. When using an oven, preheat oven to 200

degrees ferinhight. Put crayon pieces on baking tin or silicone mold, and bake for up to 10 to 15

minutes (wikiHow)

I hypothesized that, ​If I melt the basic 8 color crayons (​red, yellow, green, blue, brown,

black, orange and purple)​, then I think the black will melt faster than the other colors.​ The

brown crayons took approximately two to three minutes to burn, making it the fastest crayon that

burned. The red took from seven to nine, the orange took around seven minutes, the first yellow

crayon took twenty-four minutes and the second one took eight minutes. The first blue crayon

took six minutes and the second took two, the first purple crayon took around five minutes and

the second took twelve, then the first black crayon took twenty-two minutes while the second

took about fifteen. If you burn crayons, brown ones will burn fastest.
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Works Cited

Federbusch, Zoe. “The Melting Of Crayons.”, Prezi Inc., 6 June 2013,

Forester, Elizabeth. “Paraffin Wax Treatments.” Benefits of Paraffin Wax - Benefits of Paraffin

Wax | HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 20 Aug. 2009,

“Fun Science: Melting Crayons.” Fun Science UK, 17 Oct. 2017,

Helmenstine, Ph.D. Anne Marie. “Find out Where Candle Wax Goes When A Candle

Burns.”ThoughtCo, 2017, ​

“How Are Crayons Manufactured and What Are the Basic Ingredients?”, Crayola,


“How Crayons Are Made.” Aa to Zz, 16 Jan. 2017, ​​.

“How Does a Candle Work?” How Does a Candle Work? | HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 1

Apr. 2000,

Mikkelson, David. “Use a Crayon as a Candle?”,, 23 Oct. 2016,

Riter, Sherry. “The Truth About Paraffin Wax Candles – Are They Toxic?” The Redhead Riter

RSS, The Readhead Riter,​.

Solga, Kim, et al. Art Fun! North Light Books, 1997.

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“What Is Paraffin Wax Used for?” Innovateus,Net, InnovateUs Inc,​.

wikiHow. “How to Melt Crayons.” WikiHow, WikiHow, 17 Oct. 2017,​.

Woodford, Chris. “The Science of Candles.”,, 14

June 2017, ​​.