Qiaogeng Zhong


Section MS3, Ariel Caine

Keywords: environment

In 1848, the chemist Michael Faraday gave his famous lecture series ‚ÄėThe Chemical History Of A Candle‚Äô at the Royal Institution. He said:

You have a solid substance here with no container to hold it. How could the solid substance reach the place where the flame is? How does this solid get there instead of being fluid? Or, when it converts to a fluid, how does it still stay together? That is the wonderful thing about a candle.

A candle can provide us light while it burns, but what will happen when it burns out?

Over 90% of life forms that have ever existed on this planet have perished. In the last 500 million years, more than half of them have disappeared in five rare but severe geological and ecological events. Although these mass extinctions were devastating, they still played a crucial role in the evolution of life, because they opened up opportunities for new species to emerge. It is thought that by so rapidly altering the natural environment in ways that are changing the climate and wiping out habitats, human activity has initiated a sixth mass extinction. Some reports illustrate that rapid increases in greenhouse gas emissions could trigger mass extinctions.\

July 02, 2014, NASA has launched its first spacecraft devoted, Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) to monitoring atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is mainly for collecting space-based global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide with the precision, resolution, and coverage needed to characterize sources and sinks on regional scales. In order to help resolve the sources and sinks of CO2 on a regional scale and use chromatography to distinguish the CO2 concentrations.

When a candle is burning, it releases heat, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. The concentration of carbon dioxide released depends on the candle’s material and volume. Therefore, based on the existing information, I have created some candles with different sizes, colours, and materials. Even though when the candles burn out, they release invisible carbon dioxide, but the remains of candles can be seen as a graph of the carbon dioxide concentration.