Paraffin motor

How to make a motor with a candle

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Warn­ing! Only un­der adult su­per­vi­sion


  • can­dle;
  • nee­dles;
  • glass­es;
  • tray;
  • lighter.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Find the can­dle's cen­ter of mass, by bal­anc­ing it on your fin­ger, and then stick nee­dles in both sides of the cen­ter point. Bal­ance the can­dle be­tween two glass­es us­ing the nee­dles and light the can­dle at both ends. Watch as the mo­tor be­gins!

Process de­scrip­tion

When the wick burns, the can­dle's cen­ter of mass shifts con­stant­ly, and when a drop of paraf­fin falls from one end (A), its mass de­creas­es and the oth­er end (B) is then heav­ier. The flame at this end (B) then warms a big­ger part of the can­dle and paraf­fin drips more in­ten­sive­ly out of it. At some point, side A be­gins to out­weigh side B and goes down. The os­cil­la­tion am­pli­tude of the paraf­fin mo­tor in­creas­es grad­u­al­ly.

Amaz­ing ex­per­i­ments are wait­ing for you in your MEL Chem­istry sub­scrip­tion!