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Multiphysics Simulation: An IEEE Spectrum Insert
Manager’s Guide

Multiphysics Analysis of a Burning Candle

Luke T. Gritter, Sergei Yushanov, Jeffrey S. Crompton, and Kyle C. Koppenhoefer

AltaSim Technologies, Columbus, Ohio

Using COMSOL Multiphysics, AltaSim Technologies were able to predict the temperature distribution and flow pattern of a burning flame during steady state candle burning.

In a burning candle, local temperatures in the flame exceed 1400 °C. The heat transfer would include radiation, conduction, and convection components while the low melting point of the candle wax would cause a local phase change to occur close to the wick, allowing mass transport via capillary flow prior to combustion in the flame.

Modeling this behavior has shown that the temperature and flow patterns are considerably influenced by the spatial location of the flame in a container, the geometry of the container, and the height of the candle within the container.

Velocity Flow Field for a burning at half the container height.