The Slow Mo Guys

WATCH: The Science Behind The Coolest Candle Trick Ever

20 MAY 2015

At ScienceAlert, we love to tell you guys about the technology and discoveries that could change our world for the better. But we also love to show you the simple science behind much-loved party tricks, like this one. Because what good is science if you can't sometimes use it to impress strangers?

 

As you can see above, you can blow out a candle and then light it again without ever touching the wick, simply by holding a flame to the smoke trail - just like magic. But what's actually going on here? The Slow Mo Guys decided to figure it out by filming the whole thing at 2,500 frames per second. And the results are pretty beautiful:

What's clear from this super-slow footage is that the smoke contains vaporised bits of wax that haven't fully burnt as yet. And so when you hold a flame to that smoke trail, the fire can burn its way down to relight the candle, igniting little particles of wax as it goes. As Gavin from Slow Mo Guys says: "You can literally see the science happening."

It's pretty simple stuff, but now next time someone tries to impress you with their magical candle-lighting skills, you'll be able to outdo them by explaining exactly what's going on.

H/t to the Huffington Post for finding the video.