Cylinder most commonly refers to:* Cylinder , a three-dimensional geometric shapeCylinder may also refer to:-Science and technology:* Cylinder , the space in which a piston travels in an engine...
thumb|right|[[Cetyl palmitate]], a typical wax ester.Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents...
with an embedded wick
A candle wick is a string, cord, or wooden object that holds the flame of a candle. A candle wick works by capillary action, drawing the fuel to the flame. When the liquid fuel, typically melted candle wax, reaches the flame it then vaporizes and combusts. The candle wick influences how the...
, which is lit to provide light
Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm, with a frequency range of about 405 THz to 790 THz...
, and sometimes heat.
Today, most candles are made from paraffin
In chemistry, paraffin is a term that can be used synonymously with "alkane", indicating hydrocarbons with the general formula CnH2n+2. Paraffin wax refers to a mixture of alkanes that falls within the 20 ≤ n ≤ 40 range; they are found in the solid state at room temperature and begin to enter the...
. Candles can also be made from beeswax
Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees of the genus Apis. It is mainly esters of fatty acids and various long chain alcohols...
, soy, other plant waxes, and tallow
Tallow is a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, processed from suet. It is solid at room temperature. Unlike suet, tallow can be stored for extended periods without the need for refrigeration to prevent decomposition, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation.In industry,...
(a by-product of beef-fat rendering). Gel candles are made from a mixture of paraffin and plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...
A candle manufacturer is traditionally known as a chandler
A chandlery was originally the office in a medieval household responsible for wax and candles, as well as the room in which the candles were kept. It was headed by a chandler. The office was subordinated to the kitchen, and only existed as a separate office in larger households...
. Various devices have been invented to hold candles, from simple tabletop candle holders, to elaborate chandeliers.
The heat of the match
A match is a tool for starting a fire under controlled conditions. A typical modern match is made of a small wooden stick or stiff paper. One end is coated with a material that can be ignited by frictional heat generated by striking the match against a suitable surface...
used to light the candle melts and vaporizes a small amount of fuel.