The performance and appearance of a candle is typically determined by the quality of the wax used to make it. High quality candles require high quality waxes with high melting temperatures. Supply of high melting point petroleum waxes, however, is volatile and often times lower quality petroleum waxes are used to manufacture candles in order to reduce cost.
Candles produced with low quality petroleum waxes typically have poor gloss, opacity, and durability. Various additives are used to improve the properties of petroleum waxes and offer candlemakers a way to more precisely control the appearance and performance of their candles.
Epolene® - Additives for Candle Wax
Epolene® polyethylene wax polymers are a commonly used additive for petroleum waxes used in candle manufacturing. The addition of a very small amount of Epolene® wax into low quality petroleum wax imparts the features that are normally associated with higher quality waxes including improved opacity, color strength, gloss, and durability. The recommended grades of Epolene® for candle applications and suggested addition rates are listed in the table below.
To demonstrate the usefulness of Epolene® in modifying low cost wax for candle applications, the physical properties of two paraffin waxes were evaluated on their own and with the addition of Epolene® C-15. The formulations and results of the testing are listed below.
Testing of the formulations listed above showed that as the amount of Epolene® wax was increased, all physical properties were improved to produce a harder, more durable candle wax. In addition, formulations with a higher percentage of Epolene® showed decreases cloud point temperatures. This results in candle wax with better opacity. To further explain how Epolene® improves paraffin wax, let's examine the microphotographs below.
Parrafin Wax - No Epolene® Added
Parrafin Wax - 0.5% Epolene®
Paraffin Wax - 1% Epolene
Paraffin Wax - 3% Epolene
In the images above, the white areas are crystalline material and the black areas are amorphous material. As more Epolene® is added to the paraffin wax the large crystalline and amorphous areas become smaller and more uniform. This increased uniformity is the cause of improvement of physical properties like hardness, tensile strength, and elongation.
Epolene® polymers, specifically Epolene® C-15, can be blended with low quality paraffin wax in relatively low dosage to dramatically improve the performance of the wax in candle formulations. The improved physical properties of candle wax modified with Epolene® results in high quality candles with: