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This is a link post Candle puzzle I made this!
A nice puzzle that you can easily setup yourself with a candle and a few bits and bobs.

Any ideas?
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 11:49, Reply)
This is a normal post I thought it was going to spin around crazily.
*Disappoint*
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 11:53, Reply)
This is a normal post
Actually, if you light the third end of the candle then it opens a wormhole. It's just generally frowned upon in the Physics community.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:00, Reply)
This is a normal post but wormholes are great for storing copies of Razzle.

(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:07, Reply)
This is a normal post Be careful though, as things approach the speed of light they start to contract. Girth is fine though.

(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:16, Reply)
This is a normal post its a metronome for deaf people so they can shag to the rythem in the dark

(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 15:50, Reply)
This is a normal post I suspect it's something to do with the weight of each end changing as the wax drips of.
As it drips off one end, the weight reduces tipping the balance and that jolt causes the other end to drip, ad infinitum.

OR SUMTIN.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:05, Reply)
This is a normal post mindpiss!
:)
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:16, Reply)
This is a normal post ^this
It's acting as a mass balance. You can see the amplitude of oscillation jump as the wax drips off the low end. This loss of mass moves the centre of mass above the pivot and therefore accelerating the rotation. The oscillation then decays away before the next drip.

Level balance is maintained as the heavier end will be lower on average, therefore experiencing a higher melting rate.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:56, Reply)
This is a normal post "I *literally* cannot contain my excitement"
[edit] The wobbles are caused by the wax dripping off.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:10, Reply)
This is a normal post It's like plasma.

(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:17, Reply)
This is a normal post
excitement excrement
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:28, Reply)
This is a normal post
For the sake of your well being I seriously hope that your exrement is not like plasma.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:34, Reply)
This is a normal post Mines usually is after a Saturday on the tiles...

(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:36, Reply)
This is a normal post ...
My first explanation would go something like this:

The change in mass caused by wax melting off the ends is what causes the candle to oscillate, and it is the rate at which the wax melts from either end which limits the size/speed of the oscillations.

The lower end will lose wax more rapidly than the higher end, as it is exposed to more flame, thus shifting the weight to the other side of the pivot point, i.e., the higher end.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:16, Reply)
This is a normal post A click from me
Not for the mild-mannered trick, but for how excited you get about the smoke and its shadow.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:21, Reply)
This is a normal post Magnets

(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:21, Reply)
This is a normal post my guess would be the dripping of the wax causes it
since they'll never burn at precisely the same rate, you'll get a situation where one side (A) drops, and so the other (B) is heavier.

B will then cause the system to rotate (I'm guessing very slowly at first) but this will bring the flame in to closer proximity with the wax, causing B to drip and lose weight; A will then be heavier and the process repeats. This will build up over time to create the fairly large motion you see in the video.

Any other ideas?

Edit: So yeah, what everyone else has already said.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:41, Reply)
This is a normal post
I reckon that there *could* also be a second effect that would cause oscillation, to do with the change in air pressure above and below the candle created by the difference of cold and warm air. Hot air expands and so the bit of hot air above the candle would provide a *lower* pressure and therefore push less down on a given side of the candle than the cold air below it would push up.


If you imagine that somehow side A has dipped down a little into the cold air below it, it will (initially) now have colder air on both sides, whereas side B that has moved up a little will have moved into the hot air above it, and so will have warmer air below it. So overall I'd think that maybe this would cause a greater push UP on the displaced side A, than the push UP that you get on the displaced side B, and so the candle would correct itself, most likely overshooting the level-position and continuting this cycle.

I haven't really thought about it hard enough to decide if that's really an effect though (for example, whether you would expect it to cause the candle to continue to oscillate or to quickly settle down). Needs testing. It's a shame you can't get a candle to burn in a vacuum, as sucking the air out of the vicinity would be a good test!

If it is indeed a factor then I'd reckon it wouldn't be nearly as important as the loss of mass that you rightly suggest.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 14:06, Reply)
This is a normal post nice idea
hadn't considered it, I assume it would have some effect, but I'm guessing the flame would provide some pretty fast heating action to the air in the vicinity so I don't know how transient this effect would be each time it oscillates.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 14:23, Reply)
This is a normal post But if you get out at the A end...
...too early and the system hasn't reached equilibrium and is still looping round the B end, that magic moss will have grown all over your eggs!

Or something similarly prime like.
(, Fri 18 Jan 2013, 22:36, Reply)
This is a normal post Boyle's Law
If there were a change of pressure then, according to Boyle's Law, the operator would be overcome by an uncontrollable urge to yawn in order to equalise the pressure in his ears.

As this didn't happen I can't see how it ca be an atmospheric pressure thing.
(, Sat 19 Jan 2013, 5:32, Reply)
This is a normal post
PS: regarding the loss of mass due to the wax melting, I think that an important factor is also that when side A tips down, this allows the wax to drip off the recess that the flame has hollowed out, whereas side B is held up and so wax collects in its recess. Thus B is heavier than A and so we get a rotation. And then the situation is reversed.

A bit like if you had two buckets on the edges being filled with water from a non-spillable source - they empty each time they get tipped down.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 14:09, Reply)
This is a normal post You could probably film a pea rolling off a table..
And your excitement would make it the best video ever. ~clicks~
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 12:44, Reply)
This is a normal post Is it something to do wtih the chakra of the burning flames causing magnetic distortion
which can only be expressed through the dancing of the candle?
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 13:08, Reply)
This is a normal post *Thank* you!
Though, strictly speaking, the candle is not dancing: the movement is caused by disturbances in the 4th dimensional hyper-cube controlled by the the lizard people/royal family from within the hollow earth.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 13:18, Reply)
This is a normal post
www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKtdvPwIL_Y
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 13:19, Reply)
This is a normal post
Jesus, let it go already.

3.bp.blogspot.com/-wJ9M7EeZT5s/UPCEuYwzuMI/AAAAAAAAawg/9kMS0qM2pgA/s1600/541982_4136319418422_1985362037_n.jpg
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 13:24, Reply)
This is a normal post You get a little 'double rainbows' about the smoke.

(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 13:09, Reply)
This is a normal post
Yeah, sorry 'bout that. Perhaps a bit less hippy though? Besides, double rainbows are pre-school. THIS is a 'rainbow'* worth getting excited about...

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/30/HALO-S_south_pole.jpg

*It's actually a number of optical effects that are created by ice crystals as opposed to raindrops and that are seen centered around the sun as opposed to on the opposite side of the sky from the sun. But still rainbow-esque.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 13:32, Reply)
This is a normal post very cool.

(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 13:44, Reply)
This is a normal post
That's what I liked most about the video.
(, Sat 19 Jan 2013, 3:06, Reply)
This is a normal post I reckon it's something to do with
the wax drips off one end making the other end heavier which results in the oscillations.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 13:18, Reply)
This is a normal post The candle has clearly taken on the chemical properties of an excitable child
I can't believe none of you have realised this.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 13:28, Reply)
This is a normal post so if i put a metal rod throiugh an excitable little child and then burn it at both ends
what your saying is that a candle some where will get excited about it?
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 15:54, Reply)
This is a normal post Accorded to cause and effect principles in physics, yes.

(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 16:24, Reply)
This is a normal post How come you can say think properly but not forth?

(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 13:36, Reply)
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Dude, forth is HARD. As is Thor and funkaliscious.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2013, 14:13, Reply)
This is a normal post Are you the guy....
.... who.. "OMG, A DOUBLE RAINBOW!!!!"
(, Sun 13 Jan 2013, 6:08, Reply)
This is a normal post Witchcraft!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(, Fri 18 Jan 2013, 18:39, Reply)
This is a normal post Swinging candle
Perhaps its like one of those ducks that appears to sip water? The weight is changing at each end and upsetting the equilibrium?
(, Fri 18 Jan 2013, 18:52, Reply)
This is a normal post bloody hell have you never seen smoke before?
It's just smoke!! Sod the wobbly candle.
(, Fri 18 Jan 2013, 19:59, Reply)
This is a normal post
But there's no smoke without..... FIRE!!!!

and fire is pretty.
(, Sat 19 Jan 2013, 15:19, Reply)
This is a normal post A real treat
I vaguely remember Jon Miller on Jack Hargreaves TV show How! doing something like this and I couldn't remember how it worked out so it was really nice to see. One of his top tips was to make firelighters out of dried orange peel
(, Wed 23 Jan 2013, 22:53, Reply)