Carbon from a candle

Making carbon

Flames need oxygen just like us. Stop a flame getting oxygen, and watch how the flame goes black

Ingredients and equipment that you will need

A candle
A tile, old plate, or something similar

Method and further information

A burning candle uses oxygen from the air turning it into carbon dioxide. If there is not enough oxygen it produces carbon, which is a black solid. Hold a plate or tile in the flame of a candle to see this effect. The lead in a pencil is made from carbon, produced by burning wood in a fire with limited oxygen.

Be careful – you should ask an adult to help you with these experiments. Do your experiments in old yoghurt pots, jam jars or bottle tops. Don’t use cups or glasses in case someone thinks it’s a drink.