New research finds Candle, television screen behaves same paraffin wax study proves

Scientists find similarity between candle, television screen

5:08 AM, 20th January 2014
Scientists find similarities between Candle, television screen
Candle and television, the two vastly different products have much more in common than we might imagine.

KIRCHBERG, LUXEMBOURG: Candle and television, the two vastly different products have much more in common than we might imagine. Research recently carried out by Professor Tanja Schilling and associates, Muhammad Anwar and Francesco Turci, at the Physics and Material Science Research Unit of the University of Luxembourg made this surprising connection.

In the process of refining crude oil, paraffin wax is produced as a by-product. Paraffin wax is widely used in many ways – candles, lubricants, paint, medicines and even many of our best loved beauty products. The crystallisation process of paraffin has been widely studied on a macroscopic level, but very little has been known on the microscopic level – until now. Prof Schilling and her colleagues made a study of paraffin at the individual molecular level and examined the process by which molten wax crystallises, with startling results.

They found that wax molecules align in a similar way to molecules in liquid crystal before they slide into their final positions and that this closely resembles the processes that are used in liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, like your television screen.

“This research will be of value to the plastics industry as the polymers which make up plastics are really just long-chain versions of the molecules in wax,” said Prof Schilling.

Almost every plastic product we use each day is created via the injection moulding process. This is a process whereby molten plastic is injected into a mould and cooled to form the product required. Prof Schilling’s research adds important knowledge as to how to control any potential defects in this process.

© University of Luxembourg News

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