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is wax a good fuel???[in vapour state]? Answered

 i burnt wax by keeping it on a spoon on a flame.... after some time it caught fire. then when i turned th spoon upside down large flames were there as if flame shower. so is it a good fuel?  


It's an excellent fuel with a high energy content but as everyone has already said, you have to keep it vaporized.   That limits its use in something like a car engine, although it could be done.  You'd have to keep it hot all the way down the line to the cylinder intake.  Your experiment is a good illustration of why you should never melt wax except over boiling water.   The fumes are just as deadly as  gasoline fumes.  If you don't go over the temp of boiling water, you aren't hot enough to make those fumes.  If you go too hot, you get fumes and risk an explosion.

Good for what? There's plenty of energy in it, you could run an oil-burning furnace or engine on it if you preheated it (like you did). Problem with wax is it needs to be pre-heated before it'll burn.


I think "good for what" was the implicit question, although a bit open-ended. :-)


8 years ago

Wax has been used as a fuel for thousands of years, e.g., candles. The problems with wax are it requires additional energy to convert it from a solid state into a vapor that will burn and it needs a large oxygen supply or you get incomplete burning. That's why a candle makes a sooty flame.
I have read that the Romans and Greeks experimented with using bee's wax in combination with other volatile liquids in flame throwers, and as flaming projectiles launched with catapults.